Posted Courtesy of Wright Enterprises Community Spotlight~~~
Just Days Post Veterans Day, Jacksonville International Film Festival
Screens A Film About A Native Fallen Vietnam Hero
Among Its Over 100 Films From Around the Globe
For But for Some Soldiers and Their Families
Everyday is Veterans Day & Memorial Day
Jacksonville, Florida-The Jacksonville Film Festival with its theme "First Hollywood" gets underway, November 15-17, 2019 at the historic San Marco Theatre, 1996 San Marco Boulevard in Jacksonville. "Love Separated in Life… Love Reunited in Honor" about a Jacksonville native and Fallen Vietnam War Hero, is among the more than 100 films from around the world, the United States and locally.
"I'm thrilled to be able to share with our community this fantastic collection of international, domestic and local films at this year's festival. The level of quality, top to bottom, may be the best collection of films we have seen to date. Film craftsmanship has risen across the globe and we're the beneficiaries. Don't miss this program. Join us and be a part of something special," said Tim Driscoll, Jacksonville Film Festival Program Director.
San Francisco based writer/director Jackie Wright explains she is beyond thrilled that Tim Driscoll and his team included "Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor," about the exhumation of Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr., her father, from a deteriorating north Jacksonville cemetery to be reburied at Arlington National Cemetery, March 10, 2014, fifty years almost to the day of his death in Vietnam.
"My father was born in Jacksonville. Due to his death at the age of 32 years on March 9, 1964 early in the Vietnam War and his being an Honor Guard for then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara on my Dad's last of more than 300 missions, I saw news articles in the Florida Times Union and The Florida Star, the local Black newspaper. They were about the helicopter crash that claimed his life and that of a fellow soldier, his funeral at Grant Memorial AME Church and his burial at Mt. Olive Cemetery. The cemetery was well kept and honorable at the time," said Wright. "And here we are fifty plus years later, Tim Driscoll and his team have included this documentary about one of Jacksonville's native sons. I'm thrilled to the moon and back," added Wright.
The 15-minute short documentary, "Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor" spans two continents covering 50 years. Sp5 Wright's daughters went to Vietnam a year after his reburial with his wife Ouida F. Wright, who died at the age of 35 years on the same day he did, March 9th, but six years after his death on March 9, 1970. Wright joined her sister, Phyllis Cameron, who was on a University of California Eastbay Global Innovators MBA Program trip to Ho Chi Minh City, Huế, and Hanoi. Cameron, the youngest of Sp5 Wright's four children, was six months old at the time of his death. After completing over 300 missions, he was two weeks away from his return home to be reunited with his family and hold his baby girl for the first time.
The sisters, representing their brothers, U.S. Army Veteran Joe Wright of Columbus, Georgia and Stanley Wright of Orangeburg, South Carolina, arrived three days ahead of Cameron's University of California Eastbay cohorts to search out their family history including a U.S. Army military base in Vinh Long named after their father, "The Shannon Wright Compound" and to find the Anh Xuan Studio where Sp5 Wright had requisitioned the last wedding anniversary gifts for his wife of eleven years. The sisters also determined they would conduct a Mekong River ceremony in honor of their father, a helicopter crew chief for the 114th Aviation Company and PFC John Francis Shea of the 560th Military Police Company, a native of Willimantic, Connecticut, who died in the fateful helicopter crash with Sp5 Wright. The ceremony also honored the U.S. Fallen Heroes and the People of Vietnam. Link to original article about the experience:
Link to video at the Shannon Wright Compound Gate:
Link to Video of the Mekong River Ceremony:
The documentary co-directed and edited by Jack LiVolsi of Jackson Street Partners in San Francisco recently won the "Veterans Award" at the Freedom Festival International in Columbia, South Carolina in August. It was screened in Los Angeles at the Silicon Beach Film Festival in June and was among the top nominated finalists at the San Diego Black Film Festival in January. During Black History Month 2019, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, presented Houston native, George Moll, a White soldier who served with Sp5 Wright in Vietnam at the age of 19, a certificate of honor for his role in honoring Wright at the Arlington Ceremony as captured in the documentary. Also in June, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam presented Mrs. Shannon Young with a letter of commendation heralding her humanitarian actions and honoring the memory of fallen heroes, "no matter the race."
The inclusion of the film in the Jacksonville International Film Festival is significant to Wright, who says it was her father's dream to return to Jacksonville with his wife, two boys and two girls to buy a split-level home and start his aviation maintenance and repair company. A Korean War Veteran and helicopter crew chief, Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr., just five years away from U.S. Army retirement wanted to invest his highly sought after aviation maintenance experience into building a life in Jacksonville, his hometown.
Wright's goal is to enter "Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor" in as many festivals as possible and to utilize the film as a way to engage youth groups and organizations to have a positive conversation about race in America. With the universal themes of love, war, family, and forgiveness amid history of the acrimonious Vietnam War, Wright has written a guide to help others discover their history. "We all have family stories and we can find each other in our family albums," said Wright. "A picture is worth a thousand words and says more than an image frozen in time."
Wright gave the example of a photo of a beauty queen that a soldier dropped on the floor of a ship returning back home from the Korean War. "My father picked up that photograph vowing he would make her his wife and asked his fellow soldier to make the introduction to the young lady who was a neighborhood friend, 'Miss Frederick Douglass.'" The rest is history of young love that birth four children who have since grown up and now have children and grandchildren. "Just to think that one drop of a photo, resulted in my siblings and I having a wonderful life," Wright concluded.
"Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor" will screen on Saturday, November 16th during the 12-noon "The Peace Your Valor Won" block in Theater 1 at the San Marco Theater, 1996 San Marco Boulevard. To find out more about the Jacksonville Film Festival, visit: http://www.jacksonvillefilmfestival.com.
Although "Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor" is rated G, there are several films within the noon block for which parental guidance is suggested. It is the last film in the noon block.
For background about the film visit: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6679790/.
Download Wright's eBook "Dead Men Tell No Tales, But Their Children Do" at
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/834396. It was her first expression about the impact of the Vietnam War on the Wright Family and a foundation for the short documentary that she hopes will be developed into a feature documentary.
Wright has another book in the wings about the 2014 move of her father from the Mt. Olive Cemetery in Jacksonville to Arlington National Cemetery that she hopes to have published soon. Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. was born on December 7, 1931. Wright expects to publish an eBook on or before what would have been his 88th birthday.