"So my great-grandfather finally gets his due..."
These are the words of Percy Fox III, a descendant of my character Percy Fox, a Harlem Hellfighter. In The Medal, a film short from Remembrance, I flash-forward from WWI France to present day America to show the repercussions of the war upon one Hellfighter's' family a century later.
The Medal takes place on one emotional day in Percy Fox III's life. Traveling through his beloved Harlem, Percy is on a journey--both literal and figurative. He is on his way to the medal ceremony honoring his late great-grandfather, Percy Fox, a Harlem Hellfighter.
An indispensable member of Sgt. David Pierce's unit, the first Fox was a friend and confidant of our novel's hero. They fought through and survived some of the most brutal battles of the war. I place these two characters at a true event: the Hellfighters' decisive victory in September 1918 at Sechault, France that basically ends the war.
The Harlem Hellfighters were the most decorated regiment. However, despite being awarded the Croix de Guerre, France's highest honor, they were denied the right by their own American command to receive their medals. After their return to America, many of these soldiers were denied benefits for their injuries; Henry Johnson, the most decorated soldier of the war, died in poverty.
These facts got me to thinking about these soldiers' families. What kind of legacy was left for them? Sure, there was pride, but as in the case of Henry Johnson, there was no medal, no tangible relic, for nearly 100 years.
The Medal will ask these questions and see things through a contemporary lens. The story of the Hellfighters continues to unfold...
The Medal (2017), written and produced by H. Buchanan