Archive for the ‘War’ Category

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.



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.

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.


More Video — More Thoughts

August 15, 2007

The stories our Living St. Louis producers have been doing all summer for the Your Stories project have just been amazing. We’ve been showcasing their stories on our YouTube channel, and have been giving you some of them here as well. Of course, there is more to Living St. Louis than World War II stories, as you’ll be able to see from their just launched Living St. Louis blog.

But back to World War II for now. I used to watch Hogan’s Heroes as a kid. It sure made the life of a POW seem not so bad. But as Patrick Murphy found out, that wasn’t what it was really like:

VJ Day

August 15, 2007

Today—August 15—Is VJ Day, the day Japan announced it would surrender (although the actual surrender ceremony wouldn’t take place until September 2) in 1945. These are the sort of dates we all learned and were tested on during school. And while a certain amount of history knowledge is no doubt a good thing to have (as Ken Burns has pointed out, 40 percent of high school seniors think we fought with the Germans against the Russians during World War II), one thing the Your Stories project has taught me is that fact and dates take on a new significance when you know what is behind those dates and facts. 

An example? Here’s one from the war in the Pacific, the one that ended on August 15, 1945:


Black and White

August 14, 2007

We’ve heard a lot of stories about the heroism of those who served in World War II, but it is worth remembering that, as veteran Richard Hancock tells us, the 1930s and 40s were not free of prejudice, in or out of uniform:

It has been suggested that we should have more video here on the Your Stories blog (we are, after all, a TV station), so we will be trying to bring you more and more of the work we’ve done. We’d like to hear from you, however, as to what you’d like to see. More of our shorter memories, or more of our longer (5-6 minutes or so) stories?

Let us know. 


Ken Burns, Part 2

July 24, 2007

Ken Burns at the SheldonA bit more on Ken Burns presentation from last night in St. Louis

First off, if you weren’t lucky enough to be in the audience at the Sheldon last night, or if you didn’t catch the live webcast, we now have an archive of his presentation available for you to view.

Unfortunately, we can’t show you the clip reel Ken showed last night. For that, you’ll have to wait until the series premieres on September 23 (7:00 p.m., right here on KETC). But let me tell you, when you see this series you won’t be disappointed. From what I’ve seen, it lives up to the hype and then some.

How’d the live webcast go? Very well, I’d say. Could we have had more eyeballs? Certainly. Will we do it better the next time? Definitely. What will that next time be? Stay tuned… 

Ken Burns

July 23, 2007

Ken Burns is in St. Louis today. The Your Stories project is a direct result of his upcoming series The War, so we are very excited to have him here to promote both the series and our efforts to tell the St. Louis story of World War II.

He will be giving a presentation about his film tonight, and to try and bring his insights to our community in new ways, we will be offering a live webcast of his presentation beginning at 7:30 p.m. (St. Louis time) tonight. This is exciting for us on a lot of levels. First off, this is our first live webcast ever, so we’ve all been learning new things as we’ve gone through the steps of putting it together. Secondly, it is exciting to think of what this might allow us to do in future.

So wish us luck and log on and take a look if you have a chance.


Facebook Frenzy

July 16, 2007

In addition to my newly-discovered blogging skills, part of my job working on The War is Facebook. Most of my friends are jealous (what other internship praises an intimate knowledge the ultimate college procrastination tool), but it’s harder than it sounds. Yes, World War II is a popular “interest” in the Facebook world but getting people to join your group when there are 23 others dedicated to the same or a similar topic is hard. It takes a long time to build a friend-list of other interested Facebookers without the aid of a college campus – no history classmates, few lectures, and let’s be real here, I don’t know of any World War II themed parties going on this weekend. Any thoughts or suggestions on how to up our group numbers without spamming other groups’ boards?


July 9, 2007

Sometimes it’s the little stuff and the little people who have the most impact. This morning, as usual, I was paging through some of our submissions and I came across a letter about celebration. The author was a St. Louis woman who was four years old when the war ended. In my experience most people, at best, can only remember snap shots of their lives at four but for this woman, that’s all it took to share something meaningful. She said she remembers the day the war ended: all of the kids in her neighborhood paraded up and down her street waving flags, celebrating.
 “The adults were smiling and waving, and hugging each other,” she said. “Of course I didn’t know what the hullabaloo was about. I just remember the happy, joyful faces and the excitement.”
 I’ve always felt that pure, true joy, happiness for happiness’ sake, is something that only a child knows, but we can all relate to it — having experienced it at one time in our lives. It’s quite comforting to me to know that even in the face of horrible tragedy, there was joy and eventual relief when it all came to an end.