The Emmy®-nominated “Hallowed Grounds”, the first-ever documentary on 22 U.S. World War One and World War Two cemeteries abroad, will be screened and discussed free by filmmaker Glenn Marcus at the Library of Congress on Dec. 2.
The film is especially timely, with this year’s 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War Two, and 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One. (As we know, the U.S. entered each World War long after their respective beginnings in Europe.)
The documentary features American burial grounds in eight different countries, certainly France’s famed U.S. military cemetery at Omaha Beach, Normandy, whose 70th anniversary of D-Day landings last June is celebrated throughout 2014.
The film’s narrator is Peter Thomas, a veteran of the Normandy landings and the Battle of the Bulge.
He relates vignettes about the heroic men and women buried in these foreign hallowed grounds. They include Gen. George S. Patton, bandleader Glenn Miller, poet Joyce Kilmer, the five Sullivan brothers, and two of Theodore Roosevelt’s sons, as well as ordinary men and women.
“Hallowed Grounds”, directed by Emmy-winner Robert Uth, also describes these battles in archival footage and photos, and hears from local people who keep alive the heroic sacrifices.
The documentary helps ensure that “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds,” as World War One Gen. John J. Pershing said. He is buried just outside Paris in the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial, that now contains remains of U.S. dead from both world wars.
The late Sen. George McGovern, a World War II bomber pilot, had praised “Hallowed Grounds” as “superb…It helps us remember the great sacrifices that young Americans made in defense of the nation.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Vietnam War veteran and former POW, has said, “This documentary gives long-overdue honor and recognition to these sacred places, and the men and women who gave their lives for the cause of freedom around the world.”
“Hallowed Grounds”, co-written by Marcus and Uth, received a National Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Craft of Writing, 2010.
Their New Voyage Communications, based in Washington, D.C., won a National Emmy for “Korean War Stories”, Outstanding Historical Documentary 2002, among the many New Voyage awards.
For “Hallowed Grounds”, Marcus visited for the first time the grave of his father’s only sibling, interred in the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France. The 114-acre site has the largest number of U.S. graves (10,489) from World War Two in Europe, according to the American Battle Monuments Commission. (The documentary’s other military burial grounds are in Belgium; England; Italy; Luxembourg; the Netherlands; the Philippines — the largest with 17,201 graves from World War Two; and Tunisia.)
“My father had landed at Omaha Beach, and we went there together in 1985, but couldn’t make it to Lorraine on that trip. He asked me then to visit his brother’s grave some day, and I was happy to fulfill that promise two decades later, though Dad had passed at age 82 in 1989,” Marcus told me.
The cemetery is a “beautiful and immaculately maintained place — a most worthy statement about how our country honors those who made the supreme sacrifice.”
For more info: “Hallowed Grounds”, Dec. 2, noon, free screening and discussion, Library of Congress, Mary Pickford Theater, Third Floor, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. Gail Shirazi 202-707-9897, firstname.lastname@example.org or Galina email@example.com. New Voyage Communications’ documentaries also include “The World War II Memorial: A Testament To Freedom” (2004) and “The March Of The Bonus Army” (2006), among others.