Author Archive

Veterans Day

November 9, 2007

Speaking honestly, Veterans Day doesn’t rank very high on the list of holidays for most Americans. Of the patriotic holidays, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, the 4th of July is the nation’s birthday party (plus it has fireworks!) and Thanksgiving has food, family and football. Even Labor Day–and three day weekend it brings–probably gets more national love.

Some of that probably has to do with the holiday being held in concert with Armistice Day or Remembrance Day around the world to mark the end of World War I (the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…”), and event that scared Europe and others parts of the world far more than the United States.

But if you’ve visited this space before you know that all of our thinking here at KETC has been changed in the last year because of our involvement in collecting the St. Louis story of World War II as part of the Your Stories project. One of the major efforts of this project was the collecting and presenting of the names of the nearly 5,000 men and women from the St. Louis area who lost their lives in service to their country during the war. We will once again broadcast those names in the program In Honor of St. Louis’ Fallen 1941-45 this Sunday, November 11, at 1:30 p.m. You can see a listing of the names online as well on our Your Stories site.

As for me, I’ll spend this Veterans Day thinking about what it means for anyone at anytime to provide service in defense of our country. And I’ll make a promise to myself to not forget about Veterans Day ever again.

Mike

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300 and Counting…

October 8, 2007

That’s how many World War II memories we’ve recorded on the Your Stories site. And we aren’t done yet by a long shot. We are adding more stories just as fast as we can, whether they are submitted online, by email or good old U.S. mail. In fact, by the time I finish this post we may be at 301 or 302…

So in case you hadn’t heard: we aren’t done yet. We still want you to share your stories with us.

And once again, I have to say a big thanks to our interns who have kept this project going. They’ve made it possible for Your Stories to become success it has. So thanks once again. We can’t say it enough.

Mike 

A Sort of Homecoming

October 2, 2007

Well, tonight brings to a close the first run of Ken Burns’ The War (although if you missed any of it the entire series will replay on consecutive Wednesday starting tomorrow at 9:00 p.m.). Tonight he will focus in part on what it was like for the millions of men who went off to war to return home and try and live a “normal” life. So as the series returns home, it has put me in a reflective mood as to where the journey has taken me.

I will admit that I have found it difficult to watch at times. As silly as it sounds, I’ve found myself feeling emotionally drained just from watching. I think the series has definitely told the human stories of what Burns’ has called “the worst war” in a way that will change how many people feel about not just this war, but all wars.

For us here at KETC, the stories and memories you have shared with us has definitely changed how we feel about World War II. It is tempting to try and order history by dates, lines on maps, and numbers of killed, wounded, missing. But history is much more than that. And while that’s easy to say, your stories have made it something that for us will be impossible to forget. Thank you again for all your contributions.

Mike

Tough SOBs

September 24, 2007

Well, after all our waiting, Ken Burns’ The War premiered last night on KETC and PBS stations across the nation. We had high viewership here in the St. Louis area, and I’d imagine that was the case across the country. Hopefully you were able to tune in, but if not I’d highly suggest you try and watch this evening at 7:00 p.m. for the second episode.

I won’t give you a long review here. I hope you’ll form your own conclusions. But at the risk of being politically incorrect, one thing I took away from last night’s episode was that the men who fought World War II were tough SOBs, and I mean that most complementary way imaginable. Wow.

Getting the Word Out—1940s Style

September 18, 2007

I don’t know why, but I’m a retro image nut. I’ve got retro/vintage advertising art in my den at home, and I’m trying to get some really unique retro art framed and on my office walls (which are still bare, but that’s another story…). So when the local Red Cross chapter offered us a collection of World War II era Red Cross posters, I knew we had to find a place for them on our Your Stories site.

Of course, for me these posters are a window to that era. At the time, they were a vital part of keeping the population engaged in the war effort. They were a form of art (some would say a lost art) that needed to not only provide information, but also to inspire.

I could go on, but I really ought to let them speak for themselves. Click Clark Gable below to see more. Enjoy.

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Shameless Self-Promotion

September 11, 2007

As I think more than a few people have said, if you’ve watch KETC at all during the last couple of months, you’re probably aware that we have been telling the World War II stories of St. Louis. Last night we tried to pull it all together with a broadcast of a compilation of Your Stories, as well as having some of the people we’ve met along the way live in our studio. If you missed it—or if you want to see it again—we will re-air the program tomorrow (September 12) at 7:00 p.m.

We’ve also tired to pull the stories together in two sets of DVDs. Here’s more information on how you can own them for yourself. We are very proud of the work we’ve done on this project, and hope you’ll not only want to have these DVDs for your collection, but also as a way to show your support for what we’ve done and are continuing to do for our community.

In just a couple of weeks, America will be talking about WWII when The War debuts on PBS stations across the country. But here in St. Louis, we’ve been hearing, recording, telling and showing stories for months, and what we’ve learned has moved us in ways I don’t think we imagined when we began. So allow us a moment—but just a moment—to look back and smile on the work done. Thanks.

Mike 

More on Monday Night

September 7, 2007

Here’s a little bit more on our Your Stories program coming up Monday night:

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Tune in for a Summary, if You Will

September 5, 2007

This coming Monday night is shaping up to be an exciting night for us, and we hope for you. Starting at 7:00 p.m. right here on KETC/Channel 9, we are going broadcast a special program that will serve as a summary—if you will—of our Your Stories project by featuring many of the stories you’ve seen on Living St. Louis as well as some of the other pieces we’ve created (or are creating) for the project. It should be a moving night of television.

Full disclosure: the program is a pledge program, and we are going to be asking for your support to help us with this project and future projects like it. But we hope the night will show you the sort of impact the project has had, and continues to have.

I’m going to try and post a promo as soon as I can get it, and hopefully that will give you more a feel for what we are doing. But please tune in Monday if you can. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  

Another D-Day, Part 2

August 27, 2007

Our good friends at YouTube were kind enough to allow us to upload Anne-Marie Berger’s story on the Iwo Jima Marines (even though it’s over the 10 minute limit). Here it is:

Another D-Day

August 24, 2007

D-Day has become known to most of us as June 6, 1944, but in reality the term “D-Day” in the military sense can mean the beginning date for any major attack or operation. And while the Allied invasion of Normandy was a defining event of World War II, there were quite a few other “D-Days” that were also instrumental in the winning of the war. Many of those other “D-Days” took place in the Pacific, and one of the bloodiest for American Marines took place at Iwo Jima.

Here is a link to a story by Anne-Marie Berger about that battle and the men who fought it (Note: We are trying to get this story uploaded to YouTube, but it is longer than they allow. I’m seeing what we can do).

So next time you happen to use the term D-Day, remember that for quite a few veterans it may have a whole other meaning.