About the Project
Statement of Purpose
More than 1,200 World War II veterans are passing into eternity each day, taking their memories with them — men and women whose sacrifices liberated millions, but whose experiences are now lost in time. As significant as these stories are to the continued freedom of our world, it is impossible to preserve each and every one of them. Ken Krueger’s story is one that can be saved for the benefit of tomorrow’s generations. The film’s target audience will be young adults, readers of the memoir, historians, military members and their families, and members of the Greatest Generation.
Upon hearing the devastating news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, thousands of young Americans rushed to enlist in the armed services to protect their beloved families and defend their country. With a lump in their throats and a gun in their hands, they soon found themselves standing on foreign soil prepared to meet their enemy and perhaps their Maker. One of those young Americans was then 17-year-old Ken Krueger.
Toughened by the economic hardships of the Great Depression, as well as brutal, daily beatings at the hands of an alcoholic father, young Ken left home for the very first time. Tender thoughts of a loving mother and an abiding faith in God would sustain him throughout those dark days of war, as they would throughout his lifetime. After induction into the U.S. Army at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis, then basic training in Missouri, Louisiana and Texas, Ken was assigned to the 92nd Signal Battalion to become a motor messenger. After an arduous voyage across the Atlantic infested with Nazi subs, Ken reveled in the lush beauty of Ireland, Scotland and England. All too soon, however, he came face-to-face with the hideous horrors of war as he stepped across the sand of “Bloody Omaha” beach in the Normandy region of France and began his job delivering secret messages for General Patton’s Headquarters.
Driving at breakneck speed to outmaneuver German dive-bombers, snipers, tanks, artillery shells, and land mines, often in utter darkness, Ken drove thousands of miles across France, delivering vital correspondence to the many units fighting on the Frontlines. After many stressful months of seeking shelter along the way in thick hedgerows, cold dank foxholes, and abandoned buildings teeming with lice, Ken was offered a clean, soft bed in the home of a family located in the tiny town of Fénétrange. For four blissful months they provided a warm, comforting respite from the death and devastation Ken encountered each day on his message runs.
However, a comfortable bed and a hot meal were not the only things that welcomed Ken when he returned to the home. The family’s beautiful young daughter, Marguerite (Delphine, of the book Fighting for Delphine), became an especially welcome diversion from the chaos of war as she waited for him to arrive back at the house after a grueling day or week of nonstop deliveries, offering a hug, a sweet kiss and a sense of hope. They fell deeply in love over the last months of the war. With the Allies pushing further into Germany, Ken’s job would soon take him away from Fénétrange and his beloved “Margie.” Not knowing whether he would see her ever again, Ken proposed. Marguerite answered, “Oui, mon chou!” The elated couple made plans to be married IF Ken could get a pass to return to Fénétrange. Ken left for the Front. Ignoring a firm warning that his securing a pass was not guaranteed, Marguerite set a date and prepared for her wedding day. The day arrived, but Ken did not. Despite impassioned pleas to his superiors, his pass was not approved until two weeks later. Ken, fearing he had literally left her at the altar, rushed back to Marguerite. Not wanting to waste another moment, Ken impatiently jumped off the train and ran the remaining ten miles on foot to her doorstep. He waited, his heart in his throat, as the door slowly opened. He had hoped to be greeted with her brilliant smile and sparkling eyes — instead her face was barely visible, her eyes fixed on his shoes. Quietly and calmly, Marguerite stated there would be no wedding. No discussion. No explanation.
Distraught, Ken went back to Germany. Over the next few months Ken wrestled with feelings of anger, confusion and doubt. The word came – the war was over. Soon after, Ken received orders to leave for Marseilles where he would take a ship bound for the United States. The troop train headed for the shipyards filled with smiling soldiers, except for Ken. He was filled with sorrow. Sorrow that he had won the war, but had lost the battle. He was going home – but without his Marguerite. Unable to bear the thought that he may never see her again, Ken defied his orders and left the troop train for Fénétrange. He just had to say goodbye one last time before he left the country. This time he was met with the smile and sparkling eyes he had hoped to see months before. Overwhelmed with emotion, Marguerite held him as tight and as close as possible while pleading, “Promise me you will return! Promise me you’ll come back to me and we will be married.” With renewed hope that she did love him, he promised her he would return to spend the rest of their lives together. Ken took the ship home, but he never returned to France.
Sixty-seven years later, Ken contemplates the agonizing decisions he made during the waning days of World War II. Why did he not fulfill his solemn promise to return to France to take Marguerite as his bride? What responsibility does he carry for having broken his honor and her heart? Can he seek forgiveness from someone who can no longer grant it? As Promised will involve the audience in the painful yet healing process of reconciliation through the power of love and faith as Ken faces what is left of his future, by finally returning to face the ghosts of his past.
Shot on High Definition video, recording took place in France, between May 24th and June 9th, 2011. The production will employ an engaging blend of interviews with Ken, his family and the family of Marguerite, narration, contemporary and vintage still and motion picture photography, reenactments, and period music to evoke a sense of that era and to explore timeless themes of love, loss, valor, honor, and redemption. The documentary will follow Ken’s travels across France, much as he did as a motor messenger from 1943-1945–from Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery, to the D-Day commemoration events, to Paris, to Dachau where Ken witnessed unspeakable atrocities, then to the Alsace-Lorraine area and the town of Fénétrange. The estimated completion date of the project is early to mid-2012.
The Production Team
The crew will consists of Troy LaFaye, producer/director/videographer, and Lee Burtman, co-producer and author of the subject’s memoir. Additional post-production staff will be hired as needed. When possible, the production will utilize student interns from the Digital Video Production program at Minnesota School of Business.
The project will also enlist the support services of an entertainment attorney, a public relations firm and a fundraising event organizer.
The project is aimed at English speaking adults, ages 24-55+ with an interest in military history, world history, The Greatest Generation; veterans’ and senior citizen issues; and secular and faith-based communities.
The total projected cost of the project will be $60,000. These funds would cover travel and lodging expenses, crew wages, insurance coverage, production equipment rental, stock footage licensing fees, post-production and promotional expenses.
To date, we have raised approximately $3,000 through individual donation and Business Sponsorships.
Individual donations to the project can be made securely using a credit/debit card or bank account via PayPal.com or by check/money order via mail by clicking on the Donations tab above.
For information on business sponsorships, please see the Sponsorships tab above.