By Lorne Dey
Accountability doesn’t only apply to politicians and government-paid employees. We are all accountable to not only those we know, but also to the stranger – and ultimately, to God, for the way we conduct our daily lives and how we treat others. Unfortunately, there are always people on the losing end any time someone thinks they are above being accountable for their actions that involve others.
Major John Tschirhart
Up until recently, 93-year-old French-American, John Tschirhart, has been one of those casualties of malfeasance in the private sector.
Major Tschirhart, a recipient of the French Legion of Honor medal, was born in America in 1921. His highly unusual story began when he was only 5 months old and his American father took young John and John’s French-born mother from their home in Texas back to France because she missed her family there so much. It was in France that John lived and was raised until Germany invaded the country in 1940 at the beginning of World War II. By that time John was 21 and engaged to be married to a young French girl named, Malou. Although John was by then more Frenchman than American, technically, he was American and as such was ordered to repatriate back to the United States, which ultimately, he was forced to do, leaving Malou behind.
It was at this time that John’s story becomes even more fascinating.
When John arrived back in the U.S., he went to live with his father’s relatives in Texas. But because he was so young when his father had relocated his young family, John had to learn to speak English and how to act like an American. During this time he wrote to Malou often, but never received any replies. As soon as America entered the war in December 1941, John enlisted in the Army Air Corps, became a bombardier, and was eventually sent to England to be stationed there. As fate would have it, many of the missions John flew were to drop resistance leaflets into France encouraging the French to resist the Nazis and help the Allies with crucial information about them. Unknown to John, Malou became part of the French resistance movement to help defeat the Nazis. By June 6, 1944, D-Day, John was back on the ground, having been reassigned to the U.S. Army’s Publicity and Psychological Warfare Division. When the Allies liberated Paris, John was there as well and determined to discover the fate of his beloved Malou after being separated for over four years.
John’s true-life experiences during WWII are the fare of big Hollywood productions and over the years, many filmmakers have promised to tell his story on the big screen. However, up until recently not one of them has made it happen, even though some have made a lot of empty promises, even fraudulently taking thousands of dollars from him.
Darla Rae and Major John Tschirhart
Enter Darla Rae, an award-winning writer, producer and director of Film It Productions.
In June 2014, the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Darla learned about John from a news story detailing his award of the French Legion of Honor medal – France’s highest distinction for those who fought in at least one of the three main campaigns for the liberation of France. Coming from a heritage of military tradition, Darla felt strongly that John’s story needed to be told. Darla has stated, “John has carried this story for 70 years, and during the past 20 years, several filmmakers have promised to help bring his story to the big screen. They took his money, but never delivered. Once I heard all of the beautiful components of his life I wanted to help make it right”.
Darla and Film It Productions are currently in the process of creating a script from John’s story that’s titled: “The French American”. Filming in several locations in the U.S. and France is expected by spring of 2015. If you would like to be involved in telling John’s amazing story, an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign has been set up called, “Give John a Buck” or go to: www.thefrenchamerican.com. It’s an opportunity to right many wrongs done to an inspiring American WWII veteran and help make his dream of telling his story to many finally come true.