It’s hard to grasp the value of something you’ve never lost.
That’s one of the underlying messages in a full-length documentary produced and directed by Christian Taylor called “The Girl Who Wore Freedom.” The film is an in-depth look at World War II from a French perspective and it will be shown this Friday, Dec. 6, at 3:15 p.m. at WCHS auditorium.
“In order to appreciate freedom at its deepest levels, you have to lose it,” said Taylor, who lives outside Chicago but has a Warren County connection with her sister, Myra Jackson, a local soccer coach. “The French, for four years, had very little freedom.”
Taylor was inspired to produce the documentary in 2015 when her son, a member of the 101st Airborne, was sent to Normandy by the Army to represent the United States in a D-Day ceremony. Taylor made the trip with him.
“I met so many people who were so thankful to America for their freedom I was just blown away,” said Taylor. “After being in Normandy, I realized I only had a child-like understanding of what freedom really means.”
Dany Patrix Boucherie is among the many French interviewed for the film. She remembers attending a ceremony on Utah Beach as a child where her dress was specially made to resemble an American flag.
“I wore a dress made from parachutes of soldiers who fought valiantly to liberate me, my family and all of France from Hitler’s terrible grasp,” Boucherie says in the film.
Denise LeConte also told stories from her memory.
“In all the cemeteries, there were so many deaths to save France and all the countries occupied by Germany,” LeConte said. “Where would we be, the French, if you, the Americans, hadn’t come?”
Among the fascinating stories of American bravery is that of paratrooper John Steele of the 82nd Airborne. The troop missed its drop zone and ended up parachuting into a town square in Normandy that was heavily occupied by German soldiers.
The paratroopers were easy targets and most of them were killed by enemy gunfire. Steele was one of the few who wasn’t injured, but his parachute was caught in the church tower.
He hung limply for hours pretending to be dead before the Germans took him prisoner. He escaped days later when U.S. troops attacked the village.
“This film is a must for anyone who supports our veterans, is passionate about history and enjoys unique documentary films,” said Taylor.
Doors open at 3 p.m. and the public is encouraged to attend. Students are admitted free but other members of the public are asked to make a donation to help with final production costs, which are estimated at $85,000.
“I’m thankful I didn’t have all the money handed to me in one sum,” said Taylor. “This has given me a chance to reach out and I’ve been all over the U.S. This is not a political message. It bridges the divide between liberals and conservatives. Most people find it to be a very unifying, emotional experience and one of the main statements is how important it is that we remain free.”
Seats can be confirmed by registering on the website www.normandystories.com. On the home page, click on “Screenings” at the top of the page, then click on “McMinnville.”
For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.