A day to honor veterans in Ponca City

Ponca City Now - March 29, 2016 3:16 pm

Ponca City Main Street will hold a dedication of the new Veterans’ Plaza at Fourth Street and Grand Avenue at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 2.

Noted Ponca City attorney and United States Navy Captain John Raley is scheduled to speak at the event.

This Plaza honors Kay County veterans and military service members and has features that can be enjoyed by the entire community.

The Wall of Honor includes three marble memorial plaques with the names of the brave men and women from Kay County who gave their lives for our freedom.

The Plaza also contains a brick paver area to honor other veterans that have served our country.

It has a water feature to attract children and a stage area for future community events.

It is Main Street’s belief that the Plaza will be a catalyst for downtown Ponca City and will spur a wave of revitalization.

Main Street has raised in excess of $500,000 for the Plaza to date, but is reaching out for the final funds to pay for the completed plaza.

Citizens, organizations and corporations who are interested in making a donation to the project should mail checks to Ponca City Main Street at 516 East Grand, Ponca City, Oklahoma, 74601.

The property on which the plaza was built was donated by Ponca City attorney Fred Boettcher.

I n connection with this dedication, The Poncan Theatre will show the film "The Hornet’s Nest" at 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for the film are $3 per person."The Hornet’s Nest" is a 2014 documentary made by Ponca City native Mike Boettcher and his son, Carols. Armed only with their cameras, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning conflict journalist Mike Boettcher, and his son, Carlos, provide unprecedented access into the longest war in U.S. history. This groundbreaking and immersive feature film, using unprecedented real footage to tell the story of an elite group of U.S. troops sent on a dangerous mission deep inside one of Afghanistan’s most hostile valleys. The film culminates with what was planned as a single day strike turning into nine intense days of harrowing combat against an invisible, hostile enemy in the country’s complex terrain where no foreign troops have ever dared to go before. Mike and Carlos, two embedded journalists as well as father and son, bravely followed the troops through the fiercest and most blood-soaked battlegrounds of the conflict. What resulted is an intensely raw feature film experience that will give audiences a deeply emotional and authentic view of the heroism at the center of this gripping story.

Mike Boettcher was serving as an embedded freelance journalist with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division along with his son Carlos as a part of his “No Ignoring” project, where they are covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and telling the stories of the soldiers fighting in them.

As a veteran network news correspondent, Boettcher has been recognized with some of journalism’s top awards including four national Emmy Awards, a National Headliner Award and a Peabody for his coverage of world events.

Boettcher has witnessed three decades of assignments covering world conflict for NBC News and CNN, and also has been a victim of terrorism himself. He was kidnapped and threatened with execution in El Salvador in 1985, and 20 years later, he survived a suicide bomber attack and a roadside bombing in Baghdad.

Boettcher’s experience covering Iraq dates back to Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when he was embedded with the U.S. Marines. That same year, he won an Emmy for his coverage of the Kurdish refugee crisis in Iraq.

Born into the conflict of apartheid-era South Africa, and as a first-hand witness to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Carlos’ life covering the drama of conflict and foreign news has seemed like an inevitability from the start.

After moving to the suburbs of Chicago as a boy, Carlos maintained his interest in the far and exotic, reading and watching anything he could to learn more. With this focus, he found himself a student at The George Washington University, majoring in International Affairs.

Looking to do more, Carlos joined his father in Baghdad to cover the war before turning his sights eastward to Afghanistan. The years spent reporting with Mike Boettcher brought father and son closer than ever before, and led to both working for ABC News where their coverage was recognized in the form of two Emmys, including the award for Best News Story. Carlos now covers foreign and domestic news as a producer for ABC News, and he currently lives in Brooklyn.

Fred and Mike Boettcher are brothers. Mike is a 1972 graduate of Ponca City High School.


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