Author Archive

4,889 Individuals

September 20, 2007

It’s hard for me to believe that the debut of Ken Burns new film, THE WAR, is actually here.  THE WAR debuts nationwide on Sunday, September 23.  At Channel 9, we’ve been planning and doing this work around WWII for many, many months.   We’ve all been profoundly moved by the conversations we’re having with the community–it’s as if the Channel 9 family has grown much larger as a result of sharing these stories of WWII.  

One of our proudest efforts has been to document the names of all the service men and women from our region who died in service to their country during WWII.  This list includes the names from all branches of the military including the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.  This list has never been before compiled from our region.  It is hugely powerful to see these 4,889 names and realize all of these brave individuals were just that–individuals with families and hopes and dreams.  Channel 9 has created a living memorial to these individuals with In Honor of St. Louis Fallen:  1941-1945, a one hour production that will air on Saturday, September 22 at 8:30 pm.  This memorial also includes local images and audio interviews that we’ve collected through Your Stories:  St. Louis Remembers World War II.  I think it’s going to be very moving and I hope that you’re as moved as all of us are by these stories.

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These Stories Need to be Told

June 15, 2007

This is an exciting summer for our team at KETC/Channel 9.  We’ve just launched Your Stories:  St. Louis Remembers World War II.  We’re connecting with the community in a big way around this project in hopes of unlocking the stories of WWII that reside in so many places in our region. In just the last month, through word of mouth alone, hundreds of people have come forward to share their poignant and compelling stories—their stories and those of their family members and loved ones.  It is also clear that everyone has a story—young and old.  Many stories are coming from the children and grandchildren of those who lived the WWII experience. 

I am one of those people with a story.  June 15th is the anniversary of my father’s death.  Talking about WWII makes me wish I could still ask him about his experiences.  I am the youngest child of parents from that Greatest Generation.  Because I am much younger than my siblings, I never really knew much about what my father actually did in the war—only that he served as a bomber in the Army Air Corps in Italy.  I never heard stories of combat, just a few stories about revelry with buddies. Ironically, through a conversation with my oldest brother about the Your Stories project, my brother also said that my father never talked about combat.  My brother then shared that on his deathbed, my father revealed some of his WWII stories.  His aircraft hit with enemy fire, his crew parachuted behind enemy lines.  He watched members of his crew shot from the air as their parachutes cascaded to the ground.  Many of his buddies with whom he had shared revelry, the same buddies I had heard about, perished that day.  There were many other stories that echoed a haunting and sorrow that had long been buried.  Perhaps he didn’t want these stories to die with him, perhaps he knew it was just time to tell them.   It reiterates to me how all of us need to have these important conversations with our families and friends to unlock these WWII stories so that they are preserved.   Please join us in this effort.

 

Amy Shaw

KETC/Channel 9