Minnesota congressman Dean Phillips was only 6 months old when his biological father was killed in a helicopter crash in Vietnam. The year was 1969.
According to NBC News, Phillips had no idea that this had happened until he was 10 years old, and his mother told him the story.
Since that day in 1979, Phillips vowed to learn every detail he could about Army Capt. Arthur “Artie” Pfefer — and one day visit the place where his father spent his final moments.
Phillips wanted to head to the area in Vietnam where his father (whom he never met) had given his life, or "took his last breath".
Dragon Mountain was the site where his father had given his life along with 7 other soldiers.
“It had become a mission," he continued. "And when I got there, I can remember thinking, ‘This is where he took his last breath.’ And for me, it felt like a place where I could take my first.”
A few years ago, Rep Dean Phillips had met and became friends with actor Woody Harrelson. Harrelson had been filming in Minnesota and rented Phillip's house for the shoot of the movie "Wilson". Since then, they have remained friends, and Harrelson joined him on this journey.
“Just to see how that impacted him, to see one of your dear friends have that kind of huge emotional catharsis was so powerful,” said Harrelson, who embraced Phillips on the mountain and wept with him.
“'After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same,' as Paul Simon says, but I think it changed him,"
The trip was very special, and made even more so with the addition of Harrelson. When the filming happened at Phillips house, he probably never thought that such a friendship with come out of it. To the point where Harrelson would join him on such a special trip.
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