Classic film & panel discussion will explore veterans’ re-entry to civilian life

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sept. 7, 2017 — Drury University is partnering with the Moxie Cinema to local veterans this Saturday for an afternoon of storytelling and discussion about service during times of conflict and re-entering civilian life.

The program begins at 1 p.m. at Moxie Cinema downtown with a free screening of William Wyler’s classic 1946 film, “The Best Years of Our Lives.”  A winner of seven Academy Awards, the film chronicles the lives of three American servicemen returning home from World War II.  As they try to readjust to civilian life, they are forced to question the significance of the sacrifices they’ve made, sacrifices that few civilians can really appreciate or understand.

Following the film, a panel discussion with three veterans from later wars (Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq) will explore whether the film still speaks to the experiences of veterans today. The events are presented by the Moxie in partnership with The Springfield Art Museum, The Springfield Regional Arts Council, and The Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

The veterans who will take part in the panel discussion include:

John Vorhees joined the U. S. Air Force in 1948, and was sent to Korea in June of 1950, where he was assigned to the 5th Air Force, and served as a nose gunner on a B-26 bomber.  On February 3, 1951, on his 127th mission, his aircraft was hit by ground fire over Pyongyang, and he and his crewmates were forced to bail out over the Korea Bay. Vorhees and the other six crewmembers were pulled from the frigid waters by Navy helicopters. He left the service in July of 1952.  When he returned home to Kirksville, he avoided talking about the war by telling people that he had “flown a desk” as a clerical worker while in the Air Force.

After completing his freshman year at Drury College, Jim Marshall joined the U. S. Army in 1966. He was trained as an artilleryman and was sent to Vietnam in 1967, where he was attached as a radioman/forward observer with the 2nd Battalion, 22ndMechanized Infantry Regiment. On December 31st, 1967, Marshall’s fire support base consisting of 275 men was attacked by a force of about 1,500 North Vietnamese troops. His unit was overrun and suffered 80 percent casualties. This action inspired the final scenes of the movie “Platoon.” The following month, the Tet Offensive ushered in six months of intensive fighting. As Marshall put it, “We used to say, ‘If we can just make it home, life will be gravy from there on.’ How little I knew.”

A native of California, Eric Olson went through boot camp in San Diego in 1986. During his 22-year Marine Corps career, he served on tours in the Far East, the Middle East and Mediterranean, the Balkans, and Africa. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Olson was Team Leader for a six-man Reconnaissance and Surveillance team, conducting extended operations against high-value targets. He retired as a First Sergeant in 2008, and has been rated 100 percent permanently disabled due to service-related injuries by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is currently a Department Service Officer for the Disabled American Veterans State Department of Missouri, and has received a number of awards and appointments for his work with disabled veterans.

For more information, visit www.moxiecinema.com.

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