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American Heritage Girls to present free screening of 'Journey to Honor'

American Heritage Girls Troop OK8601 will present a free public screening of the film "Journey to Honor" at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Worley Seminar Center, Building 300 at Great Plains Technology Center, 4500 W. Lee.

The film is a 38-minute documentary about the final Oklahoma Honor Flight on April 4-5, 2016. Its primary focus is on three veterans who made that trip to the D.C. area: James Clark, then 92, no town listed; Raymond Stover, then 93, of Piedmont; and Marvin H. Banta, then 91, of Wetumka. Twenty other Oklahoma veterans went with them to see the National World War II Memorial built nearly 60 years after the war's end.

Oklahoma Honor Flights was organized in the fall of 2009 as an affiliate of Honor Flight Network Inc. of Springfield, Ohio. The program's mission was to put the hours of flight time that airline pilots need for certification to good use: They would transport World War II veterans to the nation's capital to see the monuments honoring their service.

Oklahoma Honor Flights provided the service to more than 2,000 World War II veterans between May 2010 and April 2016. A few of the flights went out of the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport. There was even a Virtual Honor Flight ceremony on Aug. 23, 2013, for grounded veterans living at the Lawton-Fort Sill Veterans Center. The flights were discontinued because the state ran out of World War II vets who were willing and able to travel.

Former state Rep. Gary Banz of Midwest City was instrumental in creating Oklahoma Honor Flights, and it is through his daughter, Michelle Livingston of Lawton, that "Journey to Honor" is being shown here, according to Lorrie Barnes, service program coordinator and unit leader for Troop OK8601. Livingston is the local troop coordinator.

The Oklahoma Honor Flights board of directors contracted with Lampstand Media to create a film that would capture the story of how Oklahoma responded to the opportunity to honor these "greatest generation" vets with a free flight to their memorial. The film was directed and written by Derek Watson. It premiered at Oklahoma City's deadCenter Film Festival in June. The only other viewings were at the Harkin Theater and Rose State College. Livingston saw the last two screenings and thought it would be a good project to bring the film to Lawton.

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