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Former president sees his own story in Honor Flight movie

CREATED May. 28, 2013

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  • President George H.W. Bush at a private screening of Honor Flight. | Photo: Renee Riddle Image by Renee Riddle

  • Joe Demler and former First Lady Barbara Bush at a private screening of Honor Flight. | Photo: Renee Riddle Image by Renee Riddle

  • President Bush and the first lady with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight team: (L to R) Renee Riddle, Joe Dean, Steve Deutsch, and Jane Dean. | Photo: Renee Riddle Image by Renee Riddle

MILWAUKEE - The group behind the Honor Flight documentary has had the unique chance to screen the movie for a VIP, former President George H.W. Bush.

"The Bush's are really down-to-earth people, very warm, very friendly," Honor Flight Board Member Renee Riddle told 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

She says the former president and first lady invited a group of local Honor Flight members to screne the movie at the President's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The movie featured Wisconsin's Joe Demler, known as the "Human Skeleton," who survived World War II and has been a central part of the Honor Flight experience for many.


She says at the end of the movie, the president said he could see his own story as a veteran in that of our local heroes.

"He told his personal assistant, 'That movie, that was me," said Riddle.

"We've been saying that all along, that this story is everyone's story, and everyone can see themselves in this film.  That was very powerful for us.  At the end of the night, Barbara Bush said to Demler, "Joe, I'll never forget you.' "