The reason for this film.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

In May of 2010 I was filming some of the final scenes in the music video Run to You and needed a walking cane as a prop. Knowing that my grandparents had one stored away in a closet for many years, I paid them a visit to borrow it for shooting the next day.

During my visit we talked about the video and also an idea I had for a future project. All through my childhood I heard stories from my grandfather, while sitting at the kitchen table, about his World War II experiences in the Pacific. He could always tell a great story and I could never get enough. I mentioned to my grandmother how I would like to film his stories even though he had been hesitant to ever share them outside of the family. She was thrilled with the idea and even asked me about it several times over the next few months.

The following October my grandmother had an accident and was in very poor health for several weeks. During this time, my grandfather began to talk more frequently about his war stories than he had at any point in the past. Every nurse at the hospital or fellow occupant of the waiting room became privy to his war time activities. They would all leave with a smile on their faces afterward.

In one situation, I went to visit my grandmother in the hospital as she neared her final days here with us. She was very weak at this point and could barely speak or move. However, just as my grandfather was beginning to share a story with the attending nurse about a Japanese bomber he saw crash, the frail hand of my grandmother slowly moved out from under the blanket. Her finger began to wiggle in my grandfather's direction until he finally determined what she was saying. She wanted him to quit telling so many stories!

After her passing, I knew the importance of documenting my grandfather's stories. As I mentioned my idea to others, they too expressed an interested in hearing what he had to share. Over time the project began to grow from a short collection of his stories to a full documentary of over twenty veterans. The final result of this small project eventually became the We Were There film.

-Jarod O'Flaherty
Director, FlyRock Media