Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Film highlights stories of Moorestown veterans

Moorestown doesn't forget its war heroes. Public parks in the old Quaker town are named after Wesley Bishop, the first resident killed in World War II, and Jeff Young, a young Marine who died in Beirut in 1983.

Moorestown doesn't forget its war heroes.

Public parks in the old Quaker town are named after Wesley Bishop, the first resident killed in World War II, and Jeff Young, a young Marine who died in Beirut in 1983.

And every Memorial Day, the names of residents who died in America's wars are read during solemn ceremonies.

"What's lost are the details," said Lenny Wagner, a member of the Moorestown Historical Society. "People hear the names, but don't know the stories.

"When you really know the depth of experiences these people had, it puts them in a whole different light."

The historical society has tried to capture what the town's veterans went through in a new 80-minute documentary,

Our Sacred Honor: Moorestonians in Time of War


The film will be given a free screening tomorrow night in the Moorestown High School auditorium. Sales of the $15 DVD will benefit the historical society and MoorArts, an arts-advocacy group that provides scholarships to students and grants to teachers in the public schools.

"It will help raise awareness of the contributions that the veterans of the town have made and give people a better appreciation for what they have done to make the town what it is today," said Wagner, who is also on the MoorArts board.

Moorestonians will get to know Bishop, who was killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They will hear the story of Bob Hathaway, who flew 50 missions over Europe during World War II and once exchanged a midair salute with a German pilot who blew by him in an early jet.

They will also learn of Roland Wiltshire, who fought in France's Argonne Forest during the final offensive of World War I; his father, George, a Union soldier captured by Confederates during the Civil War; and earlier residents who defied Quaker teachings to battle the British during the Revolution.

"It's a matter of honoring the veterans," said Wagner, 56, a vice president of an Irvine, Calif., financial-services company. In the film, "we make no distinction between those who were gung-ho and those who were drafted. The point is they did it because they had a sense of honor."

The idea for

Our Sacred Honor

came to Wagner after the historical society opened an exhibit of photos and memorabilia primarily about local men and women who served in World War II.

After reviewing old photos of veterans gathered at the town hall and histories of Moorestown back to the Revolution, Wagner proposed a fuller treatment of the impact of America's wars on the Burlington County town, founded in 1682.

"You can see certain names of people, certain families represented throughout the history of Moorestown, from the Revolution to the Second World War," he said. "There is an Isaac Lippincott who went through 'disownment' from the Quakers for joining the militia during the Revolution.

"Later, there was Samuel Lippincott, who served in the First World War, and Joseph Lippincott, who served in the Second World War."

Advertising executive Tony DeCrosta wrote the film's script based on research by Wagner, and the documentary was edited by D.J. Haney, a student at Rowan University. Both are from Moorestown.

The project was completed for $2,000, thanks to technical assistance from executives at NFL Films, many of whom are residents.

"We wanted the project to be done by the town's people doing it as a labor of love," Wagner said.

Among the World War II veterans highlighted in the

Our Sacred Honor

is LaVonne Camp, an Army nurse stationed at a small evacuation hospital in India near the Burmese border.

"I was impressed with the very discouraging living conditions. It was a very bad climate, and most of the patients were filled with disease - not just war injuries," said Camp, 84, author of a memoir,

Lingering Fever


"I didn't have a fever, but the head nurse said I had one for the pilot who waggled his wings over the hospital when he came home from missions."

She has been married to that Army Air Corps pilot, Arthur Camp, for 62 years.

"I think the film will call attention to the community's contributions. In our church bulletin are 10 names of members who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Camp, who attends First Presbyterian Church.

Others in the film experienced war on the homefront. Judith Young recalled being glued to the television one day in October 1983 after hearing reports of a truck-bomb explosion at the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, where her son was stationed.

Within the week, two soldiers and a chaplain showed up at her home with news: Marine Sgt. Jeffrey Young, 22, had been one of 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers killed in the blast.

After going through shock, denial and sadness, Young channeled her grief into action, eventually being named national president of the American Gold Star Mothers, a nonprofit organization of mothers whose children have died during military service.

"It's good for the young people to see this film," said Young, 68, now the president of the group's New Jersey branch.

On Memorial Day, she said, "I was at Arlington National Cemetery, and when the national anthem was played, the young people didn't put their hands over their hearts.

"You don't just look around with your hands in your pockets when the American flag passes. You salute. That's very upsetting to me that they don't show respect to flag. The last time we see that flag is when it's on a coffin. The film will help raise awareness that there are people putting their lives on the line for us."

If You Go

Our Sacred Honor: Moorestonians in Time of War

will be shown 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Moorestown High School, 350 Bridgeboro Rd.

For more information, call 856-727-4816.