Veteran featured in "Honor Flight" film discusses Memorial Day

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- On this Memorial Day, some gathered to remember the fallen through the Greatest Generation.

Modesty is something that comes naturally to Port Washington's Joe Demler -- but average is not how one would describe the life of anyone who has sat through a movie with the former Commander in Chief and First Lady.

Last week, Demler met with Former President George Herbert Walker Bush and Former First Lady Barbara Bush in Maine. The group watched a movie that celebrates the courage, commitment and sacrifice made by the Greatest Generation.

The film "Honor Flight" features Private First Class Demler -- a member of the 35th Division and an infantry man in the Battle of the Bulge. He was better known as the so-called "Human Skeleton" pictured on the cover of Life Magazine in 1945.

He was injured in a battle and sent to a Nazi POW camp. He was there for three months, and his body weight plummeted to about 70 pounds. However, his will to survive did not waste away.

"I'm fortunate I'm alive," Demler said.

Understandably, Memorial Day has a special significance for this not-so-average Joe, who takes time to remember those who gave their lives so he and others can share these stories.

"We honor the ones that made the supreme sacrifice," Demler said.