Behind the Doc

Stories that humble

Posted October 13, 2010 10:06 a.m. EDT
Updated October 13, 2010 10:34 a.m. EDT

Selecting the veterans to profile in “Stories of Honor” wasn’t easy.

I worked with the co-directors of Triangle Flight of Honor who received more than 170 applications for the inaugural flight. After sifting through them, they recommended a couple of dozen candidates.

I interviewed most of them over the phone. They were interesting to talk with and had fascinating stories. I was looking for the most compelling stories and some diversity in military experience among the three I chose to profile in the documentary, and while I narrowed the list down to only three veterans, there were some common threads among almost all of the veterans I spoke with during the process.

They don’t see themselves as heroes despite their service and sacrifice in the most pivotal event of the 20th century. They saw their contribution to the war effort as just something that everyone had to do, not something deserving of any special attention or praise.

They have been reluctant to talk about the war until decades later when it got renewed attention in efforts to build the World War Two Memorial in Washington D.C. and in popular culture with television series like “Band of Brothers” and movies like “Saving Private Ryan”. Their war experiences dredge up emotions that make talking about them difficult, even after more than 65 years. They have no reason to be as humble as they are, but listening to their stories is certainly a humbling experience.

About this Blog:

Documentary producer and writer Clay Johnson provides some behind-the-scenes insight into the production of WRAL documentaries.