CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI) – It’s billed as a film about a champion who became a survivor, and a survivor who would not be broken. Tuesday night at the Galaxy 14 Cine in Chesterfield, a group of World War II and Korean War veterans watched the movie Unbroken.
The film shows the torture of an Olympian turned WWII soldier who endured. He was beaten repeatedly and refused to send an anti-American message his captors wanted him to send.
“I’ve still got tears in my eyes,” said WWII veteran Harold Stotchkaamp as he left the theater.
“I know what they went through,” said Korean War veteran Donald Flatt. He did not elaborate. His son said his father has never talked much about the experiences of war. Michael Flatt said, “It’s understandable given the things he saw.”
The audience was made up of veterans who participated in recent honor flights. The flights take veterans to Washington D.C. for the day. In some cases it’s the only chance for WWII veterans to see the memorial built to honor them. The Greater St. Louis Honor Flight www.gslhonorflight.org relies on donations to make those flights possible. The group organized Tuesday’s event with help Wehrenberg Theatres and Charles Schwab.
“They were the greatest generation,” said Rick Randall, Greater St. Louis Honor Flight board member. “They really don’t ask for anything. We have to kind of beg them to come, and when they come they really enjoy it.”
American flags lined the sidewalks before veterans and their families arrived. They were also treated to valet parking and popcorn. The group filled a theatre set aside just for them.
“We’re in a room with 200 guys that basically saved the world,” said Randall.
After seeing the movie, some veterans said the film did a good job of showing the torture some American soldiers endured.
“I think more people ought to see it,” said World War II veteran Milton Simunich. “Then maybe way down deep they’ll realize what some of these veterans actually done.”
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