Everyday, before the sun sets, Disneyland Park honors veterans as part of the traditional Flag Retreat Ceremony. Last Sunday, Disneyland hosted a special guest. Andy Fitzgerald, the last surviving member of the Coast Guard crew whose daring rescue is being told in Disney's The Finest Hours. Fitzgerald joined other veterans that were in the park in being recognized for their service to their country.
During filming of The Finest Hours, Fitzgerald was engaged by the producers in the early stages of development to help ensure the facts and details were authentic.
Discussing Fitzgerald, Kyle Gallner who portrays him in the film said, “Andy was kind of the low man on the totem pole and never asked to go out on a mission. On that day in 1952 they 7 didn’t even trust him to go tie-up local fishing boats, but when Bernie has to choose a crew to join him on the mission there weren’t many people left at the station, so Andy volunteers.”
“Some people still look at the Pendleton rescue as a suicide mission, but I never saw it like that,” says Fitzgerald, who is now 84 and lives with his wife in Colorado. “Like we used to say back then, ‘You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back.’ Our job was to save people and that’s what we did.
LaughingPlace would like to join the Disneyland Resort in thanking Fitzgerald and all of our nation's veterans. Their service will never be forgotten.