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D-Day: Down to Earth—Return of the 507th

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May 13, 2005

Contact: Phil Walker
(404) 408-2293
D-Day paratrooper film to re-broadcast for 2nd encore
507th veterans travel back to Normandy for 61st D-Day anniversary

D-Day: Down to Earth—Return of the 507th will re-air on Georgia Public Broadcasting to honor America's veterans as part of Memorial Day. (Check local listings for other broadcast areas and times. In Georgia, the film shows on May 29th at 5pm and May 30th at 10pm.)

D-Day: Down to Earth D-Day: Down to Earth—Return of the 507th details the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment's heroic contributions to the Allied campaign in World War II and surviving members' emotional return to Normandy nearly 60 years later.
(Design by Bryan Nixon)
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Also, a small group of WWII 507th veterans, family and friends will make a return trip to Normandy in early June to witness the naming of the Cauquigny town square honoring the late Captain Robert Rae. The 61st D-Day anniversary ceremony honors the heroism of Rae and other members of the 507th at the battle for La Fiere causeway which culminated at Cauquigny as depicted in the film.

Approximately 40 paratroopers from the current 507th Airborne Training Battalion stationed in Ft. Benning will participate in a commemorative drop into Normandy near Cauquigny on June 5. Additional paratroopers from the Ft. Benning Ranger Regiment and the Ranger Training Brigade will also participate in the drop.

D-Day: Down to Earth set for PBS encore broadcast

(October 13, 2004)—D-Day: Down to Earth—Return of the 507th will be rebroadcast nationally on PBS November 4th at 10 pm EST. Local PBS affiliates have the option to present the film at a later date. Some affiliates will take the opportunity to show the film on, or around, Veterans Day—November 11th. Please check local schedules for dates and times.

Georgia Public Broadcasting, the presenting station for D-Day: Down to Earth will rebroadcast the film on November 10th at 7 pm and November 11th at 10 pm. The original broadcast was viewed in 2.4 million households in the United States.

Filmmakers' D-Day documentary to be shown nationwide on PBS

(May 7, 2004)—A project that began as a memento for a group of World War II veteran paratroopers has turned into a full-length documentary that will be broadcast across the United States and France in time for the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

D-Day: Down to Earth—Return of the 507th will debut June 2, at 8 p.m. EDT on PBS. Check TV listings for local air times. It will also be shown in France on the Odyssee Channel May 28.

The documentary is the first PBS program for co-producers Phil Walker and David Druckenmiller. In 2002, Druckenmiller was asked to accompany a group of World War II veterans to Normandy to document the unveiling of a D-Day memorial in their honor. Upon his return, Druckenmiller asked Walker to help him develop a short program for the veterans and their families that captured the essence of the regiment's return to Normandy. "Being there on the ground in France with the veterans, at the places where they fought, hearing them tell their stories was a remarkable experience. The trip changed my views on veterans, the war, and this generation. I felt it was a story that needed to be told," Druckenmiller said.

As the two began work on the project, the film quickly evolved into a longer piece with the potential for reaching a broader audience. "When we got into the heart of the 507th's history, we realized we had something unique—a D-Day story that had taken 60 years to complete," Walker said. The two ended up with a 47-minute documentary that connects the regiment's contribution in the war with their present-day journey back to Normandy.

In April of 2003, the filmmakers shopped the project to cable and broadcast television outlets, including PBS, which expressed great interest. "Public Television felt like the most natural venue for this film. PBS was very supportive, encouraging us to add more personal insights from veterans to flesh out the various stories in the film," Walker said.

Druckenmiller and Walker interviewed a total of 22 veterans of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment from all over the United States. The end result is a 57-minute film that details the paratroopers' story from training, to combat in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, through post-war disbandment, and to their remarkable reunion nearly 60 years later.

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