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CNN entertainment correspondent Chloe Melas believes that she lives the life she does because of the sacrifice of veterans like her grandfather Frank Murphy, a World War II hero, who wrote about his experiences before he died at 85 in 2007. Melas and her mother, Elizabeth Murphy, have teamed up to write a foreword to his memoir Luck of the Draw: My Story of the Air War in Europe, which will be published on Feb. 28.
Murphy will be one of the characters in Masters of the Air, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and starring Austin Butler, which will begin streaming on Apple TV+ later this year. The miniseries highlighting American exploits in the skies over Europe during WWII follows the blockbuster successes Band of Brothers and The Pacific.
Although Masters of the Air is based principally on the Donald L. Miller book of the same name, the makers of the miniseries used Luck of the Draw to help create historical authenticity and to understand what U.S. airmen went through in defeating Nazi Germany.
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Chloe Melas talked to AARP’s Shelley Emling about what her grandfather and his comrades mean to her.
SE: What’s unique about your grandfather’s story?
CM: My grandfather flew 21 missions over Nazi-occupied Europe before his luck quite literally ran out when he was shot down over Germany. He parachuted out of his B-17 airplane, which was engulfed in flames, plummeting towards the earth. Two members of his crew did not survive. When my grandfather landed in a German farmer’s field, he was captured and went on to serve 18 months as a prisoner of war in horrific conditions. Decades later my grandfather put pen to paper and recounted his experience with such detail that you feel as though it was just yesterday.
SE: Why has it been so important to get your grandfather’s story out there?
CM: He did so much to support me in achieving my goals throughout my life that it feels only right to pay it forward and champion his book. I want to shout from the rooftops the incredible heroism my grandfather and his fellow men went through to protect our country. Our lives were in the hands of these barely 18-year-old men; we owe so much to them for the freedoms we have today.
SE: What did you always admire most about your grandfather?
CM: My grandfather always managed to keep his cool under the toughest of circumstances. In hindsight, I believe his wartime experiences helped put everything else into perspective.