A while back I was contacted by the folks at Our American Network to do a series of stories for them. For those of you unfamiliar with these folks, what they do is they take stories and do broadcast of them five nights a week over some 500+ radio stations throughout the country. Lee Habeeb, years ago decided to start collecting stories from the common person, and today they’re put out for the general public.
Yesterday, a couple of the stories I’ve collected were aired. Hear them Here.
I started by describing my view of history. I’ve said in other posts, history isn’t always about the famous or about dates. That’s what turns people off about history. You can’t relate to a historical figure unless you have a reason to connect to them.
As example I used was Columbus coming to America. OK, everyone knows that. But what was he really thinking? What were the stories the sailors went back with? And what stories did the Native American have? Those stories are gone, and those are the kinds of stories Lee set out to preserve.
That’s history. Some of it is tragic, some of it life changing, and some of it funny.
My initial airing involved two stories. I started talking about the above, Columbus coming to America, and what happened to those stories.
I then skew over to the Battle of Bulge. Even the most casual student of WW II knows Patton turned his army 90 degrees and force marched them to Bastogne. But what about the people who made that march? I preserve the story told to me by one of them who received a Bronze Star because of action that occurred during that March.
I also talk about a personal story where we ran into a group of British soldiers in a minefield and there was nothing we could do to help them.
I have to admit, when I was mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Stephen Ambrose, all I could do was smile and say, “It’s been a while since I’ve been in such good company.”
History is like that. It’s about the small stuff, and when you’re in the middle of it, all you see is your tiny corner of it.
Also, how do certain events impact us today? Well, let’s see. Had Levi Martinez (the man in the story of the walk to Bastogne) been killed, my children wouldn’t exist today. Without him, I’d be a different person today and you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
Without Columbus, and what many consider a great injustice, none of us would be here today. Maybe someone would, but it wouldn’t be you or me.
Without a man who was a slave rescuing one of my ancestors from a pig pen, I wouldn’t be writing or recording stories today.
In the weeks, months, and dare I say, years ahead, I’ll tell more of those stories. And I’ll join folks like my friend Joy Neal Kidney (she has some great stuff out there) and dozens of others. Some that are already out there waiting to be told is the story of the “Atomic Marine,” Sheriff Toby Madrid’s story of when he was part of an A-Bomb test. There’s also “Coffee in the Military” and the story of how the Captain of the Enterprise never ever forgot one young sailor.
These are the stories they’re interested in telling. Like it or not, we’re the end product of other peoples stories.
It’s the individual moments in history they set out to record and present. To preserve our stories of who and what we are.
I guess the easiest way to finish this up would be to ask a question.
What kind of story do you want the future to tell about you?
Want to tell your or someone else’s story? Contact Our American Network here.