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'The Forgotten Eagles' tells the story of the 'Aztec Eagle' aviators. The pilots helped the United States during WWII.

COURTESY PHOTO - 'The Forgotten Eagles' tells the story of the 'Aztec Eagle' aviators of Fighter Squadron 201, the only Mexican military unit to serve in combat outside of that country. The pilots helped the United States during WWII.

The Newberg Public Library and the Chehalem Cultural Center are joining forces to showcase a film about a rare alliance between Mexico and the United States during WWII.

On Jan. 17, the center will show "The Forgotten Eagles" directed by Victor Mancilla and written by Phillip Badger and Rodger Marrs. The documentary tells the story of the "Aztec Eagle" aviators of Fighter Squadron 201, the only Mexican military unit to serve in combat outside of that country.

"It's kind of making a bridge between people in the community between countries that have been natural allies in the past," said Newberg Public Library director William Worthey. "Those relationships have seemed a bit strained at times with the current political climate … it's interesting to have a look about a period of close Mexican-American cooperation."

The alliance was created by a special wartime agreement between presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Manuel Avila Camacho. The volunteer aviators and support personnel went on to help American forces liberate the Philippines.

The film is also part of the library's push to increase adult programming for the community, said Worthey.

"Important that people have access to educational opportunities that may help them think in new and fresh ways about the world and the human experience," he added. "Whether it's a documentary like this, whether it's a foreign movie or whether it's learning a new craft or practice like beekeeping… that stuff just enriches people's lives and it helps them meet their neighbors."

Worthey hopes Newberg's large Latino population will also help drive interest in the event.

"The last couple of events that have happened at the Black Box have sold out," he added. "We're currently at 36 people (for the event). I'm hoping we do get up to 50."

The library also plans to hire a full-time Spanish language librarian next month. As for the film, Worthey is excited to bring the different cultures together, even if it's for one night.

"I hope they walk away with a renewed sense of friendship with their neighbors, especially with their community members who maybe don't have great English skills," said Worthey.

"The Forgotten Eagles" documentary will be shown on Friday, Jan. 17, starting at 7 p.m. The event is free at the Black Box Theatre at the Chehalem Cultural Center, at 415 E. Sheridan St., in Newberg.


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