LEWISTON — Emerge Film Festival wrapped up its second year where it began at the Franco Center with a tribute to World War II veterans in a presentation of the movie “Honor Flight.”

The Honor Flight Network is a nonprofit organization with hubs around the nation with one goal in mind — to get veterans to the memorials that honor them before their generation is gone. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII vets die every day.

Honor Flight began in Ohio in 2005 with six Cessna aircraft, taking 12 vets to Washington, D.C., and has grown to chartered 747s and affiliate programs across the country. The trips are no cost to the veteran who is paired with a guardian; often a family member, to ensure they have the best experience possible.

Slowly making his way up the stairs in front of the Franco Center, Ralph Sylvester helped his wife, Elaine. At a glance, Sylvester looks slow in his years, but those are the same legs that scrambled across Omaha Beach nearly 71 years ago.

Sylvester and three of his friends from Waterford are making the trip to D.C. next month.

Before presenting the film, a color guard presented the flags as Honor Flight Maine Board Chairwoman Laurie Sidelinger sang the national anthem. Toward the end, many in the audience were singing along.

There was a musical tribute to each branch of the armed forces as flags were presented and a moment of silence for POW-MIAs.

The movie had barely begun when audible sniffles came from around the audience. Tears mixed with laughter as veterans would recount combat one moment and comment on getting kissed by attractive young women on their trip.

Joe Demler, one of the veterans profiled in the movie, said he left high school to join the Army. He soon found himself in the Battle of the Bulge —Germany’s last great offensive push west. He was captured and said he was down to 70 pounds when the camp was finally liberated. Time Magazine called him the “human skeleton.”

Demler’s saying, “Every day is a bonus,” is printed on many of the volunteers’ hats and jackets.

Harvey Kurz said he remembered the thunder of guns and bombs from what he described as a 800-ship flotilla just before the landing in Iwo Jima. Kurz choked up recounting the men he came to know getting torn up on a beach the Japanese had every inch of covered with gunfire.

Julien Plaster said he went into the Pacific Theater gung-ho, but that quickly changed. “It really hits you when you see bodies — dead bodies,” Plaster said, “not only Americans, but Japanese.

“You realize that you’re not as big as you thought you were and you’re just another human being,” Plaster said. “We got bombed so bad that about 50 or 60 percent of our personnel were lost.”

Plaster said that “Out of the few of us, one fellow had a flag — and we took it and we hung that flag up — we went through hell that night and that morning that flag was still there and we were still there.”

Flying home, the vets were treated to an old fashioned “mail call” where cards, letters and pictures were collected from family members and distributed to the vets — some of whom thought they had been forgotten by their family.

The trip concluded with a massive homecoming in the airport — wall-to-wall with family, service members, bands and well-wishers. It was a final welcome home for just a few of the 16 million kids who left home and saved a country from the greatest threat it has ever seen.

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