In the Spirit of Walt
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This message is being sent to you on behalf of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society. The author, Michael Broggie, is founding chairman of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society and the son of Roger E. Broggie - Disney Legend and one of Walt's famed early Imagineers.
In the Spirit of Walt
Those of us who study the history and legacy of Walt Disney are well aware of the passion he embraced for America. When his older brothers enlisted in the Armed Forces during WW I, Walt tried to join them. Turned down because he was only 16, he fibbed about his age, volunteered as a Red Cross ambulance driver and served in France.
When America was called again to defend the world against the forces of evil, Walt turned the studio into a military and civilian training film production company. Features and shorts made for theaters supported the war effort such as Saludos Amigos, and Der Fuehrer's Face, which won an Academy Award in 1943. Victory Through Air Power was the first film supporting the use of aircraft to win the war. General Eisenhower showed it to his Allied counterparts.
When animators had a few free moments, they designed fighting unit emblems for U.S. and Allied forces. Hundreds were donated and many are still in use.
Walt once said, "Actually, if you could see close in my eyes, the American flag is waving in both of them and up my spine is growing this red, white and blue stripe."
He witnessed the worst of times through two world wars and the Korean conflict. He survived his own bankruptcy when only 21 and the Great Depression. Through it all, he never surrendered. He was described as a risk taker by his wife of 41 years, Lillian Bounds Disney, who told this writer: "My husband was the most stubborn individual I ever met. He just wouldn't give up if he thought he was right."
Walt believed in the promise of America and the freedom of its people to pursue and secure their dreams and aspirations. He loved its small towns, like his boyhood home of Marceline, Missouri, where many will gather in a week to remember him, marking 100 years that have passed since his birth, and reminding themselves of the simple values that built the greatest country in the world.
Ironically, on the eve of this happy event, we are drawn together for a tragic reason. America and all it stands for is under enemy attack. For the first time in 225 years, those who seek our destruction have delivered war within our continental border. We the People have rallied before and will again. We the People have fought the forces of evil and won and we will again. This time it's our fight, on our land, and for a just cause. Former generations have passed the baton of the American Spirit to us. In their honor, we will fight until the world is safe for all freedom-loving people. It's what Walt did.
Those who want to share their feelings or just want to be with others this Sunday, Sept. 16, come to Walt's Barn at the Los Angeles Live Steamers area of Griffith Park between 11 am and 3 pm. Admission and parking are free. The Carolwood Pacific Historical Society will be collecting donations for the Red Cross Relief Fund. Those who can't attend are invited to give to the Red Cross at www.RedCross.org.
Carolwood Pacific Historical Society
-- Posted September 15, 2001