LORAIN — He served his country nearly
70 years ago.
It was his duty and he did it.
It changed his life.
But Avon resident George Bliss, 88, didn’t know it still mattered to other people until he boarded Honor Flight.
“Walking down the walkways, people applauded and cheered,” he recalled of his trip four years ago. “I didn’t realize people still cared about something that long ago.”
Not only do they care, but they have made a movie about the members of “The Greatest Generation,” like Bliss, who have finally received a memorial for what they did during World War II.
The film, “Honor Flight,” follows four veterans on their trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial and will be shown Tuesday at the Lorain Palace Theater.
Rated PG, the film has received many awards, including the Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up “For” Competition at the Cleveland International Film Festival.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it,” Bliss said. “I’ve never seen it before.”
Bliss, who served about three years in the Army in an ordnance depot company in England and France during the latter part of the war, was impressed with Honor Flight Cleveland, when he participated in the trip.
“I had been to the museum on one other trip, and saw the memorial being built,” he said. “It was nice to see it afterward once it went up.”
The Honor Flight Network is a nonprofit organization that has flown more than 100,000 veterans to Washington, D.C., for free to see the World War II Memorial constructed in 2004 and other landmarks. It consists of 117 hubs across the country, including Cleveland.
In May 2007, the inaugural flight of Honor Flight Cleveland flew from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, according to the group’s website.
Since then, every third Wednesday from May through October or November, veterans have boarded planes for Honor Flight.
Today, more than 2,300 U.S. veterans from around the Cleveland area, the majority from World War II, have taken flight.
The trip includes the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, the Air Force Memorial, the Marine Memorial-Iwo Jima and Arlington National Cemetery, including witnessing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the honor of laying a wreath at the tomb.
“It is an amazing thing to meet these guys who were real heroes,” said Alan Revercomb Sr., safety director of Honor Flight Cleveland. “And the stories, you just don’t have enough time. I will take them to my grave.”
Revercomb, a combat Vietnam veteran who also is chaplain for Elyria VFW Post 1079, said Honor Flight saved his life.
“Like a lot of vets, I was really lost,” he said. “I talked to a friend of mine, who was director at the time, and he said once you meet these guys, you’ll see what the war was all about. I went on a flight and it changed my life.”
He has gone on every flight since, missing only one when he got married.
“It’s amazing to see how excited they are,” Revercomb said of the veterans before a trip. “The response we get when we arrive in Baltimore is just phenomenal. Hundreds of people are standing and hollering and waving flags. There is screaming and crying. And these guys really know they’re home. These people really do care, and let’s face it, no one really every told them they cared. They saved our country.”
Revercomb, 62, who also serves as chaplain for the Elyria VFW Post 1079, said the flights wouldn’t be possible without donations from the public.
Cost of the trips is free to the veterans, and there is no public funding.
Revercomb has not seen the film yet, but he plans on going to both showings Tuesday, he said.
“It’s all worth it,” he said of his volunteer work with Honor Flight Cleveland. “The pay is phenomenal, and the pay is no money, it’s the joy of doing what you do.”
Representatives from Honor Flight Cleveland will be at the event with information and applications.
The “Honor Flight” screening is sponsored by Stein Hospice and hosted by the Lorain Palace Theater with special thanks to the French Creek Family YMCA and Lorain County Community College.
The film is only being shown at Lorain Palace Theater at this time. Anyone interested in viewing the film can visit www.honorflightthemovie.com to host a showing or see when another showing may be available locally.
The movie is being screened free of charge through a sponsorship from Stein Hospice in Sandusky and support from the Lorain Palace Theater, French Creek Family YMCA, and Lorain County Community College.
Contact Christina Jolliffe at 329-7155