The Second Meeting (2013) Movie Script

[jet engine noise]
Many layers of clouds.
I saw the missile launch...
Roger, roger. Out of the aircraft, down.
Vega-31, Vega-31, going down. 31 is going down.
The first American F117 stealth bomber
crashed during NATO air raids on Yugoslavia
Oh dear god, keep him safe,
just keep him safe...
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
[violin music]
Good morning. It's very early. It's a beautiful
spring day in early May and here we are in
the dining room. I've been asked to prepare
some video diaries of the Zelkos.
So come on, let me go show you why,
one of the main reasons why it's so
difficult for me to leave my home
every morning to go off to work.
Yellow shirt today.
Shaved last night.
Hello, hello bird.
Hello, hello bird.
Time to head out. Oh, boy, come on.
I really must get a new flag up there.
I knew that Dale would be deployed.
Before they deployed, the wives had had...
they had a dinner or function for all the
wives just to get together. And informed us
that if something happened to our husbands
they'd come to our homes and tell us in person.
[phone ringing]
So this was the fourth night of the war. We
have planned two waves of F117s, I was on
the first wave and there was also going to
be some B2 stealth bombers coming through
later on that night. They had cancelled all
NATO air strikes, so all NATO strike packages
were cancelled that night because of the
weather. Extremely challenging weather night.
So the only game in town, as they say, were
the LO guys, the low observable guys. I have
already done my mission study, target study,
and prep for that, but so strong on my mind was,
you know what, if there was ever a night,
if there was ever a mission for an F117 to
get shot down, this is the night
and my mission's the one.
[jet engine sound]
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
Saturday morning came.
I woke up very disturbed.
I did get my target. That night was very
challenging because of the weather and
many layers of clouds, off target headed
west for about a minute 40 seconds or so
and then the aircraft turned a very
aggressive turn to the northwest.
As soon as I rolled out of that turn, I started
looking outside for the known threat systems.
So just after I roll out, I'm looking, a quick
look around, and a quick look at right 4 o'clock,
and there they were.
I didn't see the missile launch because of
the low bottom layers of clouds.
But I saw two missiles punch out from
that bottom layer of clouds and as
soon as I saw those missiles,
I thought they got me.
Good afternoon. Here we are, finished with
the work and on our way home. Hurray!
I see our post, mailbox.
I'm getting home just as the others are.
There's Keegan bouncing the tennis ball.
They've just gotten home.
Mollie... Hurray, hurray.
Keegan's noticing that I'm filming.
There's Torin in the woodshed.
Let me see if I can keep this going and...
manage to turn the car off and escape my
prison. Hello, hello! Hello, Nutboy!
Hello Molly-cholly-lollypop. Hello Torin,
Shea Zelko. I'm a-going in the...
Hello little fellow. Are you a leprechaun?
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle
lamzy divey a kiddley divey too wouldn't
you? Mairzy doats and dozy doats and
liddle lamzy divey a kiddley divey
too wouldn't you? What is this contraption?
- Hello my beautiful bride.
- Yeah, beautiful bride with this...
- Let's have a kiss.
I was in the absolute worst possible
body position for an ejection.
This is really, really,
really bad.
The next memory I have is being in the
ejection seat, out of the cockpit,
and I see the cockpit and the aircraft falling
away from me. I can see the lights in the cockpit,
all the warning and caution, you know,
red and yellow lights falling away.
But then all these other thoughts,
are on my mind as I'm still in the seat.
One is, again in a very light,
humorous sort of way, you know,
my mom is not gonna
be happy about this.
So I thought about my mom,
I thought about my daughter.
And again, in this light, humorous sort
of way, I imagined being on the ground
kicking the dirt, and saying:
"Nuts, isn't this inconvenient".
I might not be able to call my daughter tomorrow
on her birthday, and she was going to turn 10.
How come I'm still in the seat? Had my hand
on this handle on the ejection seat that you
can pull that manually opens up the lap belt
and you can try to wiggle yourself out of
the seat and push the parachute
out of the top of the seat.
Now give it another few seconds -- one potato,
two potato, three potato, four potato -- BAM!
The seat pops me out, parachute deploys, inflates
and I'm hanging under the canopy of the parachute.
Look down, thought OK, I got my stuff. Oh,
survival vest looks like I got all my stuff,
still had my oxygen mask on, took that threw
it away, visor was gone, that makes sense
it got blown off, check canopy and my
first reaction was "Yes, perfect canopy".
No malfunctions at all, and then my second
thought again in this light and humorous
sort of way is "You have got to be kidding."
An orange and white panel parachute.
Glowing like a Chinese lantern.
Here I am flying in a single ship, not talking,
not squawking, there's good chance nobody
knows this just happened. So, the
rescue time is the most critical element.
So I thought, you know what,
I need to get on the radio, now.
So I got out my survival radio about
one minute after I was under canopy.
I'm hanging in the canopy, coming
down, probably 7 or 8 thousand feet
above the ground and I got out my survival
radio and I started making mayday calls.
And I just said "Mayday, mayday, mayday,
Vega-31's going down."
Mayday, mayday, mayday, Vega-31
Mayday, mayday, mayday, Vega-31
Vega-31, Vega-31, going down.
So I start to make these calls and
I got no response.
31 is going down.
So I wanted at least to get out that hey
I was out of the aircraft and I'm alive.
Vega-31 last position in aircraft was approximately
a point after target.
At that exact moment I was on the couch crying
and praying, and just really crying out to
God, please God, let him live, just please,
bring him home, let him live. Of course, I
had no way of knowing that something was wrong
but I just felt this total sense of dread
and I was so overcome, just screaming in my
home to please, please, bring him home, that
I loved him so much and I just
want him to be OK.
Roger, roger, out of the aircraft, down.
Soon after this, the phone rang. I knew that
it was not good information, I had one of
those gut feels that people sometimes get
and you just know that the phone is ringing
for a bad reason.
[phone ringing]
Oh dear God, keep him safe,
just keep him safe.
At any rate, the general basically told me
that we had lost a plane and that it was
Dale's plane. The good news, as he said,
was that we knew he was alive and that
he had ejected safely from the plane. And
of course, they didn't know where he was.
There was some, they knew he had made the
ejection and he had made this radio call
but they had no idea of knowing at that
point was he on the ground safely, was he
already captured, very unclear
of his status.
Dear Lord, please let him live,
just let him live.
So it was hard to see
that on the news.
[ambient sound]
Here we are again, on the way home now.
Some of the other things that I have with me,
that I'm surrounded by in my car are
a voice recording of my wonderful, beautiful,
blessed grandfather Joseph Ryan Sweeny
who, starting in 1970, started recording
some of his thoughts and favorite music
and recording readings from passages
from some of his favorite literature with
the intention that some day, posthumously,
after he was long in heaven, that the
grandchildren and great-grandchildren
and great-great-grandchildren would
have and enjoy. Let us listen.
[ambient sound]
Hey, Lauren.
- Yes.
- What time is it?
- It's little after 1 o'clock in the morning.
- What are you doing?
- I am quilting
This is the time of night
that I usually quilt.
- Tell me what you're working on.
- I'm working on a quilt for Zoltan
and Mrs Dani and we decided to do a quilt
for her. I don't know whose idea it was,
mine or yours? Do you know?
Yeah, Keegan Patrick Shea Zelko, my son,
my beautiful beloved son would like to
play something. He wanted me to introduce
this, he said he was too shy, but...
Keegan's gift to the Serbian people.
And, what are you going to play?
[violin music]
I'm very close to traveling to Serbia for
the second meeting, and I hope that
Zoltan and I, and Zoltan's family and my
family become very good friends.
I hope so. Maybe we won't
like each other.
OK, we're gonna talk about my trip tomorrow
to Serbia, my second time to Serbia.
- Yes, your second time to Serbia.
- What happened the first time?
Got shot down.
Vega-31, Vega-31, going down.
It's Tuesday morning, May 31, 2011 and I'm
packing, getting ready for my trip to Serbia.
Why don't we take a quick
look around the house?
Good morning, good
morning, good morning,
you slept the whole night through,
good morning, good morning to you.
- So here's Dale. He is ready to go.
The bags are packed.
- Bag, bag, carry, carry.
He's very excited. We're all a little
not excited, I think. Cause we
don't like it when he goes
on trips. We miss him.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Ignition,
blast off. Pull the rip cord. Parachute.
Excited? Ready to go?
Last minute thoughts?
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
[ambient sound]
I've just departed my beautiful home
and my blessed family.
On my way to Serbia
for the second meeting,
so I'm driven to go,
I'm compelled to go,
I must go and meet Zoltan under entirely
different circumstances. So come on.
Well, here I am in my nation's capital,
Washington D.C. waiting for my flight
and I have some very special friends that
my children made sure hopped in my pocket
for this journey and I have some other
special friends and pocket notes. So,
you thought I was traveling alone. Well,
I have my whole family with me and
special friends. And, of course, God. Always.
I'm going to read this note from my bride.
Again I'm reminded of the last time I flew
across the Atlantic Ocean was in a single
seat stealth fighter F117.
There was no in-flight service.
I have to tell the diary. We're very
close to landing in Belgrade.
It's very exciting. Very soon,
Zoltan, I will be shaking your hand.
Are we near Kovin? I'm starting to get
this swell of anxiety in my chest.
- Yeah, we're near,
we're near.
Oh boy. Is he there?
Is he in his bakery?
Oh, what a beautiful morning,
Oh, what a beautiful day,
I've got a beautiful feelin',
Everything's going my way.
50 meters?
Really? I'm really here?
- Hello colonel...
- Hello Zelko.
- Colonel Dani.
- Hi. Good to see you.
- Are you have a good trip?
- You too, yeah.
My grandfather always said
don't give anybody the wet noodle.
- This is my bakery.
- You got flour on your face.
- Yes, because working. You
working any more baker, no?
- Do I do any baking?
No, but you can teach me.
- OK.
- OK?
Too much?
- Slowly, slowly. Yes. OK.
- How's my touch?
- Very good.
- Like this.
- Follow you? Same?
Too gentle?
This is not easy.
This is baker Zelko
and Dani baker.
- Yeah! I would like that.
I like it.
- Hello to you. Very
good to meet you.
- Welcome to...
- Thank you.
- Welcome in my house.
- Thank you.
- This is my son Atila.
- Hello, Good to meet you.
- How are you?
- Good.
Come in, please.
Now, try not to
blow this one off.
Don't shoot this one.
- It's nice.
And I have something for you,
from the Zelko family, my wife.
Several months ago, when it appeared the idea
of Dale traveling to Serbia to meet Zoltan
became a reality, I decided I would like to make
a quilt for you as a gesture of friendship.
My search included several "friendship star"
patterns and I became focused on the idea of
a star. A star represented so many things that
are appropriate to the quilt, to this meeting
of our husbands, to Dale's shoot down, etc.
- So the star on your quilt represents friendship.
It is my offer of friendship to you, a woman
I've never met, half way around the world
who is connected to me through the military
shoot down of my husband's aircraft during war
- Dale and I both served in our nation's
Air Force because we love our country
I suspect Zoltan, too, and your family feel
pride in your nation.
So, the star on your quilt reflects
the sense of patriotism.
Dale was flying his F117 aircraft at night,
under the stars and the moon...
- So the star on your quilt is for the night.
While Dale was evading on your soil...
Many people were searching for him and
converging on him. There were Serbian
military forces, Serbian citizens,
United States rescue forces...
- So the star on your quilt represents Dale,
with many people converging on him.
From this military event, Dale and
Zoltan have become well known.
Again, the star represents both Dale and Zoltan.
- Across the lines of war
- Across the lines of war
- A friendship is born.
- Friendship is born
- Hence your quilt's name: Many Roads Lead
to Friendship. I hope you will accept my
offer of friendship and peace.
I hope the quilt will warm you;
if not physically, then in
your heart. Enjoy!
[Phone ringing]
OK. All right. Let's talk about that night
and some of the details what I was doing
and what you were doing.
When it was my time for take off, off I went
out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, and then flew
all the way across Slovenia, flew right over
the top of Ljubljana, where my grandmother
and grandfather were born and raised
and then into Hungary for the air-refuel.
This is the navigation...
We don't need navigation. My memory,
we'll just go on my memory.
You said the aircraft, where the aircraft
came down was southeast?
- And this too.
- OK, so right over there.
- Yeah.
I'm starting to get this great wave of
excitement, actually, because I've spent
12 years telling people, when I visit and
share with people as a guest speaker,
for 12 years I've been telling them I came
down maybe a mile, a mile and a half
north of Budjanovci, Serbia.
So here I am.
- This road now?
- Yes, this.
We're close, we're very close.
This is a railroad track, right?
- So this...
- This is the road.
This is the bridge.
- OK. Right there is where I came down.
OK. Where I came down under canopy should
be right there, right there, maybe right here.
So where I came down under the parachute was
this close to the road and the railroad track.
Slightly south of that intersection I came down,
there was a really
stiff wind blowing
from the southwest to the northeast, so I
turned the parachute into the wind and I was
drifting back like this so I landed this way.
So I came down, I gathered in my parachute
and I took off my harness and my helmet and
I secured all of that in the bottom of a
freshly plowed farm furrow. Back then,
the furrows were running north-south,
now they're running east-west.
I remember that tree, should be right
here, there should be this shallow,
north-south running irrigation ditch.
OK. Right here. This is it. This is it.
- Here?
- Right here. Right here.
Yeah, see the ditch?
- Nice.
- Nice.
- This is it, I can't believe it.
- How many time you was this?
- This is where I stayed
the rest of the night.
- Seven hours?
- Yea, almost seven hours.
- This is the place, yes?
- This is absolutely the place
and again all, all of...
- You remember, absolutely remember?
- How can I forget? I lived seven hours
of, very intense seven hours of my life here
- A helicopter?
- The helicopters came in from the west
and they set down right there in this field,
just to the west of this ditch. They landed
one rota arc away from where I was, so I
came out just enough to put the signal flare,
exposed myself just enough so they could
see the flare. They landed right there,
the pararescue men came out, grabbed me,
in the helicopter and off we went. Twelve
years later, here I am. I don't believe it.
So I came out of ditch at that point, I was
on the edge of the ditch in a farm field,
in this low crouch, looking very non-threatening,
with my face in the helicopter and nothing
is happening. I see these two shapes approach
me, they looked like aliens and I didn't see
them until they were about ten feet away.
The PJ, as they're called, the PJ team lead,
stuff sergeant Eric Chino, was the first one
to come up to me on this side and he grabs
my shoulder of the jacket here and he tucks
me in like this, he says "How do you feel, sir?"
very loudly and noise of the helicopter,
and I said "Great, let's get out of here."
And he said, he said "Your PJs are
here to take you home."
The day I was shot down, my mother was in
church praying, and she came out of the church,
it was a Saturday, and she got in her car and
she turned on the radio and the first thing she
heard on the radio was an F117 went down. And
she knew it was me, she just, she knew.
And... She just knew. So she went right back
in church and spent several hours there.
- How are you feeling?
- Hey, that's my stuff!
Very nice shot, very
nice shot. Well done, Zoltan.
Zoltan, I'd like to thank you for bringing
me here. It was very important for me that
I connect as closely and as deeply as
possible with the Serbian people.
It's a great moment to just pause and reflect
on exactly what you said. What really matters.
What really is important... is our faith and
our humanity and our respect for one another.
- Indeed there are many
roads to friendship
You're gonna be competing with the
memory of my grandmother's apple strudel.
Lots? Too much?
Tight? Very tight?
The smell is very familiar. This smells
like my grandmother's apartment.
My grandmother would be
very proud of this.
- This is my favourite part.
OK, I'm recording.
So here we are...
Here I am with Zoltan and his whole family
to see me off back to United States,
back to my family.
You can see he's recording himself.
Here's the gang.
[Phone ringing]
Hello. Here we are, off the coast of Maine.
In the map, let's have a look in the map.
I miss everyone in Serbia. Right there
is my home, my house, my family.
We're on final approach for
landing in Washington D.C.
We're home, we're home. We're almost
home. We're almost home.
We are on River Road between
Goffstown and New Boston Village.
Anybody, anybody? There
they are, at the door!
I see Keegan. Look at that
boy, he's very happy.
Hello friendly, hello nutboy. Hello. Hi boy. Where are
the others? Inside?
- Yeah.
- Waiting?
- Waiting to surprise you.
After we moved from the
ramp at Aviano airbase,
next thing is the ops group
commander and several
of the other leadership huddled me by, next
to, a classified phone, top-secret secure
phone and said General Wesley Clark, the supreme
allied commander forces Europe is going to
call you. I thought "Wow, OK." And he did.
And we're on the phone together. And one of
the very first... you know, welcomed me home,
glad to have you back, glad we got ya, but
then the next thing he said to me was:
"You're clear to go do that media thing."
And so I responded to him "Actually, sir,
I would like it to be just the opposite.
I would, I do not want my name associated with
that event, I want to stay extremely low profile."
Which also shocked him, I could tell. He was
silent and that my response was very unexpected
to him and he then responded to me again with
something like "I'm not sure you understand
what I'm saying," and I think he finally realized
"OK, this guy really, really means it," and
he, again seemed to me frustratingly, very
reluctantly said in a very annoyed tone:
"Well, OK, I guess it's your call."
Finally, after being up for a very, very, very
long time, Colonel Bronco Stewart, who was
sort of my escort, brought me back to my
room and said "Stay here. Don't go anywhere.
Within the next, I think he said 10 hours, maybe
12 hours, the President's gonna call you."
The phone rang. So I answered the phone and
this voice said "Is this the pilot?" and it
made me smile. I thought, OK, the word got
back to the White House calling and they don't
want to even say my name across the open and
unsecured line. I said "Yes, this is the pilot."
He said, "This is Tony from the White House."
OK, Tony, how you're doing? And he said,
"Stand by for the President." What I remember
most about the conversation with President
Clinton is when he shared with me, and I can tell
in his voice, in his manner, in his tone,
how deeply, deeply relieved he was that I
was rescued and not only worried for my safety
in fellow American and harms way but also
because what it would have meant if I have been
captured, if they had the ultimate price. Anyway,
when I also did ask him again for, you know
I wanna stay very low profile from the media,
he said "You have full White House support"
Quickly after he was home, it became really
difficult because he wasn't ready, he just was
still there. We were at two totally different
places. He was so unprepared to come home
and I was so needing to be there for him, he
just mentally was still in Aviano and not at home.
- Where's Rowan?
- Rowan's on the swing.
OK, this is the ball game at the Zelkos'
home, everyone come on and watch.
- Come on to the ball game!
- What are the teams?
What are the teams?
- Mommy and Keegan.
Versus poppa, Mollie, Torin.
- Rowan is the cheering section
in the swing.
- National anthem:
"Oh say can't you see..."
- OK, we'll shorten that. Play ball!
Take me out to the ball game,
take me out to the crowd, Buy me
some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I ever get back.
This is the home school teacher
and... tell us what is next.
We home school and the children usually
have four days a week of school at home.
And the public school systems
here have five days a week.
And some of its sixty sharp teeth,
were up to seven inches long
Get a ruler and measure out
seven inches.
- Did I do a good job?
- Yeah
- You're still pleased with
my tape job?
But now there isn't
very much in my jewellry box.
But I'm going to start...
[inaudible conversation]
Hey Keegan, hey Mollie, hey Torin,
hey Rowan, hey Lauren.
Isn't it a wonderful,
beautiful, glorious day?
Isn't it a splendiferously
delightful day?
Isn't it a heaven hurray
thank you God playday?
Isn't it oh-my-Goodness-O day?
Yes! Isn't it a fiddely-faddely-foodely - fiddely day?
Here is our church. Hello church
Hello community church.
Give me a kiss..
It is wood stacking season.
"Zippity-doo-duh, zippity-yey, my, oh my,
what a wonderful day."
Good morning. It is the next morning on our
way to work. I just discovered I've introduced
you to my grandfather Joseph Ryan Sweeny, Pops.
Another very interesting bit of his recordings.
Neil Armstrong's first words as
he steps on the Moon."
Home again, home again, jaggedy-jag. Hurray,
hurray, hurray. Oh, I really must put a new flag.
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
- They're here!
Oh my heart. My heart.
[inaudible conversation]
- I'm home!
- My brother!
- Come on!
- Oh, my brother.
- Oh, Zollie.
- How are you?
Wonderful. So good to see you.
Welcome to our home.
- Hello
- Welcome to our home!
- It's so nice to meet you. It's so
exciting. This is Rowan. Rowan. Torin.
- It's nice to meet you.
Did you meet this one?
- It's very exciting,
isn't it?
There's somebody you haven't met yet.
Rowan is going to be a big sister.
We have a baby coming. Yes!
- Very nice.
- So meet the baby.
Come on in.
[inaudible conversation]
- Dale, this is a special present.
- One hand-made.
From our ancestors.
And she is giving to her, when you
put it on a table, you remember us.
- Thank you for passing
that on to us.
It's from natural cotton so
that's why it is...
- Oh it's beautiful.
- that gray colour.
- This has been in the family?
- 50 years it's been in the family.
- Oh, it's beautiful.
A hah! Yeah yeah.
- Nice.
- You know?
I know.
- What is this?
It's a SA-3.
- Yes. Neva.
Neva, yeah. From Zoltan to Dale. That's
nice. This is the collection of aircraft that
represents my flying career in the force,
I did other things besides flying.
These are all aircraft that I flew. This is
the missing peace from the collection so
it needs to be in a place
of honor, I think so.
- This is complete, yes?
- Perfect.
- And now this is our collection, yes.
- Yes, and now the collection is complete.
- It is complete.
- This was the missing piece.
- Yes, yes, yes. This is the missing
piece. It's complete. OK.
For me the emotion started when he left
for war because I knew that he'd be flying
very dangerous missions and that there was
a good chance that something would happen
to him, so the day that he was shot down for
me was more about noontime that he got shot
down and I had been in my house, lying on
my couch and, before they called, and I was
crying and just praying that God
would keep him safe and...
13 years and I'm still crying, it's crazy.
Because I know you understand, it's so
frightening, there's so much fear to know that
your husband's in danger and I can imagine for you
It's so unimaginable to me the terror of that.
I... it's... Oh, people shouldn't have to
go through that, shouldn't have to live that
way. Ah, I don't... I'm speechless; I don't
know what to say about that I feel. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry that you had to live through that
and I'm certain that you, that feeling of
fear never goes away, that's in your heart
and will always come back
over and over.
Family is everything; it's just
everything in our lives is our family.
Oh, I'm glad you're here.
So, what do you think about my father
and your father were in a war and
against each other, and now you and me
are playing? How do you feel about that?
What's on your mind?
- It's incredible.
How many?
- Eight.
- Eight? My gosh!
How many of each? How many
girls? How many boys?
- Two boys and six girls.
I also have two other children from a previous
marriage, previous life I guess, you could
say. Ryan, and then I have another daughter
Gina. Sadly, we just became very far apart
from each other in very recent years and right
now we don't have any contact between us,
which is pretty sad. You know there is a piece
of my heart that is just missing and someday
if we reconnect, that would be wonderful,
if some day these five children and those
two children come back together and know
each other and have each other as family,
that would give me
great joy and pleasure.
- Maybe this is another chance?
- - Maybe. Maybe.
I think about them every day
and wonder how they're doing.
- Maybe this is another chance?
- And maybe for you?
- Maybe. Who knows? You pilot and
I copilot. Maybe. Who know? Cheers!
To family!
- Yes, to family and new...
Faith and family.
- Yes, and new chance.
- Yeah, yeah.
[phone rings]
[phone rings]