"When Heroes Were Everywhere"
Multimedia is filming a documentary about
's extraordinary patriotism during World War Two; a story that is began with a
mystery WWll B-17 Bomber with "City of Danville,
Va" emblazoned on the nose. Five years of research by David
Hutcheson of Virginia Multimedia finally identified how we connected to that
airplane, and it wasn't because of a crew member who was from
journey of solving the riddle included the discovery of amazing stories from
bomber crew vets here in
. Stories of
native and B-17 navigator Bob Floyd trying to avoid frostbite at 35,000 feet .
Of an American prisoner of war escaping the POW camp and sneaking in to
, where he found a sympathetic family who hid him in their basement--during
which time he fell in love with their daughter and wound up living his life with
native Andy Waggoner, who flew bombing missions over Japanese islands at
tree-top level to keep the enemy fighters from going under him as they shot at
him while he was dodging anti-aircraft gunfire and concentrating on his target.
Of Danville native (and B-17 waist-gunner) James Rich getting shot down over
Berlin, trying to limp to Poland on only two of the four engines still working,
then wondering if they would crash land in a Russian or German-held part of that
country. Of having the crew's nice cotton underwear switched with rough wool
Russian underwear when some enterprising Russian allies noticed the Americans
all taking a bath in a large wooden tub.
stories create a world of intensity, humor, romance and the ultimate in camaraderie--all lived under an umbrella of danger. These crews did something
that was so dangerous that they were only asked to do it 24 times. After 24
missions, if they survived, they were removed from combat. But they were unaware
of the heroic support they were getting from their loved ones in
--represented by the "mystery" B-17. An airplane that was a result of
's response to
's wartime sale of War Bonds to pay for the fight for freedom. Deficit spending
was unconstitutional in the 1940s, so the government raised money selling bonds.
And the "Buy a Bomber:" program would get a city its own bomber if it
raised at least $200,000. (about $1.5 million in today's money).
raised that and more. An astounding amount for a small textile town.
Heroes Were Everywhere" will look at Southside's extraordinary support of
freedom from here and abroad, and capture for future generations the spirit of
cooperation and courage that lived here.
are pictures of the
veterans interviewed so far for the documentary. The company that made the B-17
(now Boeing Aerospace) is supporting the documentary by providing valuable WWll
film of these men in the air and on the ground. the documentary is still being
filmed and is slated for release in mid-spring