Saluting WWII Veterans


Published:

The men and women who survived the Great Depression and fought in World War II never refer to themselves as “the greatest generation.”

Now in their 80s and 90s and dying at a rapid clip, they would be the first to point out that plenty of Americans before and since have been made of some pretty stern stuff, too. It’s just that their generation had Tom Brokaw’s mega-selling book, whose title became an inescapable part of the lexicon.   

Shopworn appellation aside, Detroit: Our Greatest Generation, an hourlong documentary by Wixom-based Visionalist Entertainment Productions airing this month on WDIV-TV, does a commendable job of telling the collective story of Detroiters at war. Fred Millard of Northville, who was in the first assault wave on D-Day, recalls stepping off the landing craft ramp into 7 feet of water. “I can tell you something, too,” Millard says. “I’m not 7-feet tall.”

“Detroit had a huge impact on the war,” says Keith Famie, a chef and the executive producer, who has produced several other locally themed documentaries. “Not only the people who served in uniform, but also from a manufacturing standpoint. If Detroit’s automakers hadn’t put aside their egos for the common good, D-Day might not even have been possible.”

The centerpiece of Famie’s production revolves around the return of another D-Day veteran, Merle Barr, to Normandy for the first time since the war. Accompanying the former army lieutenant on this emotional trek is Barr’s son, Brad, a National Guard staff sergeant, who walks Omaha Beach with the veteran.

“As much as it’s about World War II vets, it’s also about what it means to grow old as part of the greatest generation,” says Famie, whose late father served as a B-17 bombardier in the Aleutian Islands. “They are fading away so quickly.”

Detroit: Our Greatest Generation airs Dec. 16 at 9 p.m. and Dec. 25 at 2 p.m.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Way It Was

Better Made Snack Foods, 1971

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Tracy Utech

With over 20 years of experience, Utech and her team have championed funds that have seen benefit outside of Wayne State’s campus.

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Karen Smithbauer

A career as a preschool teacher and battle with breast cancer, ground Smithbauer's philanthropic efforts

An Hour with ... Faith Duede

Founder, Rocky Horror Preservation Society
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2018
  2. Memories of Miya
    Citizen Yoga founder, Kacee Must Leeb reflects on her sister’s suicide, its impact on her...
  3. Introducing the Piekie
    These cookie-shaped pies win big on-screen and off
  4. Mending Migraines
    Nausea, excruciating head pain, sensitivity to light and noise: The oppressiveness of the list of...
  5. The Sixth Man
    A youth basketball coach teaches lessons on and off the court
  6. Seeking Support
    Like many metro areas across the U.S., finding a therapist in and around Detroit can prove to be...
  7. Therapy in the Digital Age
    New innovations that revolutionize traditional approaches to counseling
  8. Food Recipe: Chili
    Michael Keys, of Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, shares his favorite chili recipe
  9. Author's Cuisine
    At M Cantina in Dearborn, Junior Merino is creating a new kind of Mexican cuisine that is...
  10. Seeing Clearly
    The co-founders behind Genusee on making eyewear with a mission