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Revisiting Sgt. York and a Time When Heroes Stood Tall
NY Times ^ | June 18, 2006 | CRAIG S. SMITH

Posted on 06/20/2006 4:14:32 AM PDT by Pharmboy


Corbis
Sgt. Alvin C. York, on a visit in February 1919 to the hill at Châtel-Chéhéry, where 132 Germans surrendered.

CHÂTEL-CHÉHÉRY, France — On Oct. 8, 1918, Cpl. Alvin Cullum York and 16 other American doughboys stumbled upon more than a dozen German soldiers having breakfast in a boggy hollow here.

The ensuing firefight ended with the surrender of 132 Germans and won Corporal York a promotion to sergeant, the Congressional Medal of Honor and a place in America's pantheon of war heroes.

Now another battle is unfolding as rival researchers use global positioning systems and computer programs, old maps and military reports to try to establish the exact site of the fighting on that day 88 years ago. Their heated examinations do not challenge the essential heroism of Sergeant York, yet such scrutiny helps explain why it is hard to be a hero these days.

There are other reasons, too, of course. Wars are often unpopular clashes fraught with moral ambiguity, and while the news media are often attracted to heroism, they also like to challenge myth building.

The military's attempt to turn Pfc. Jessica Lynch into a hero after the invasion of Iraq unraveled when it emerged that she had not emptied her rifle at advancing Iraqi soldiers, as first reported. The initial accounts of Cpl. Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan in April 2004 came undone when it was disclosed that the corporal, a former N.F.L. star, had been killed by members of his own unit.

Military abuses now have a longer shelf life than acts of derring-do.

It was easier to create heroic stories in 1918 when the press was more pliable and the public more gullible, and the popular media had a fondness for uplifting tales of uncomplicated bravery.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: gunnyg; heroes; marines; milhist; usmc; wwi
The fact that Sgt. York shunned the limelight and returned to the farm is pretty impressive.
1 posted on 06/20/2006 4:14:34 AM PDT by Pharmboy
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To: Pharmboy
and while the news media are often attracted to heroism

Not hardly.

2 posted on 06/20/2006 4:26:16 AM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/why-the-left-is-a-fifth-column/)
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To: Pharmboy
It was easier to create heroic stories in 1918 when the press was more pliable and the public more gullible, and the popular media had a fondness for uplifting tales of uncomplicated bravery.

and when newspapers like the New York slimes could be shut down for sedition

3 posted on 06/20/2006 4:27:29 AM PDT by Charlespg (Civilization and freedom are only worthy of those who defend or support defending It)
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To: Pharmboy

NY Slimes doing what it does best: tearing an American hero apart.


4 posted on 06/20/2006 4:28:40 AM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: Pharmboy
Touting Military Misdeeds, Hiding Heroes
5 posted on 06/20/2006 4:30:32 AM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/why-the-left-is-a-fifth-column/)
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To: Pharmboy

6 posted on 06/20/2006 4:35:02 AM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/why-the-left-is-a-fifth-column/)
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To: Pharmboy

how long before someone claims that York was gay?


7 posted on 06/20/2006 4:35:07 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (if you're human, act like it.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
York was gay


8 posted on 06/20/2006 4:38:05 AM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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9 posted on 06/20/2006 4:42:15 AM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/why-the-left-is-a-fifth-column/)
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To: the invisib1e hand

In Sgt. York's day, gay was something else. He might have been gay, in his day.

How often I wonder what the Saints would say of the sad and sorry state of our fringe culture these days? A time when the Commmander in Chief (Mr. Hillary Clinton) gotta hummer in the Oval Office. They are turning in their graves.

God Bless men like Sgt. York of yesterday and our honorable GIs of today.


10 posted on 06/20/2006 4:43:21 AM PDT by Broker (COD Phlyer)
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11 posted on 06/20/2006 4:47:27 AM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/why-the-left-is-a-fifth-column/)
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12 posted on 06/20/2006 4:52:51 AM PDT by Cannoneer No. 4 (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2006/06/15/why-the-left-is-a-fifth-column/)
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
In the 50s, when I was a kid, our heroes were Audie Murphy and Davey Crockett.
13 posted on 06/20/2006 5:06:30 AM PDT by GeorgefromGeorgia
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To: Pharmboy

All he wanted was a piece of Bottom Land.


14 posted on 06/20/2006 5:17:23 AM PDT by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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To: massgopguy

Unfortunately he would die a pauper. The movie would bring him fame and fortune and an IRS audit. He would loose his farm, family and fortitude!


15 posted on 06/20/2006 5:21:41 AM PDT by Young Werther
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To: Pharmboy

My grandmother, Lila May Roark, nee Gilbert, grew up with and went to school with Alvin York and remembered him him very well. I asked her, before her death in 1964, if the facts portrayed in the movie "Sgt. York", were true.

Her reply was that the portrayal his early life prior to the war was based very much in truth and that he was a ruffian and man you did not want to cross prior to his finding God. After his self-conversion and dedication to Christ she said you have never seen a man change so much.

After which she proceeded to show me great uncle Elzie's (Elisha) shirt that he wore when he was killed in Harlan, Kentucky. He was shot three times with a .44 across a card table for cheating. Her words to me were, "Uncle Elzie were a sportin' man, you better stay right in your ways or you'll wind up like him."

I listed to my gandma, stayed fairly right, and bought myself a S&W .44 Special. Hand no problems ever since


16 posted on 06/20/2006 5:35:55 AM PDT by .44 Special (Death to Traitors!)
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To: Pharmboy

My grandmother, Lila May Roark, nee Gilbert, grew up with and went to school with Alvin York and remembered him him very well. I asked her, before her death in 1964, if the facts portrayed in the movie "Sgt. York", were true.

Her reply was that the portrayal his early life prior to the war was based very much in truth and that he was a ruffian and man you did not want to cross prior to his finding God. After his self-conversion and dedication to Christ she said you have never seen a man change so much.

After which she proceeded to show me great uncle Elzie's (Elisha) shirt that he wore when he was killed in Harlan, Kentucky. He was shot three times with a .44 across a card table for cheating. Her words to me were, "Uncle Elzie were a sportin' man, you better stay right in your ways or you'll wind up like him."

I listed to my gandma, stayed fairly right, and bought myself a S&W .44 Special. Hand no problems ever since


17 posted on 06/20/2006 5:35:57 AM PDT by .44 Special (Death to Traitors!)
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To: .44 Special

Sounds like you have some interesting history in your family...thanks for the info.


18 posted on 06/20/2006 5:57:26 AM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must)
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To: Young Werther

One of my customers in Cookeville, TN has a framed flyer advertising the liquidation of Sgt. York's estate on his office wall. IIRC, it mentions hogs, chickens, and other farm type stuff. Nothing of real value, save that it all belonged to a humble American hero.


19 posted on 06/20/2006 6:13:39 AM PDT by EricT. (CA conservatives only serve to inflate the number of electoral votes won by the Dems.)
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To: Pharmboy

Read later.


20 posted on 06/20/2006 6:28:30 AM PDT by EagleMamaMT ("Uncle Sugar: Handle it at the border or Uncle Winchester will handle it at the porch." Squantos)
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To: Pharmboy; Coop; 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; freema; Just A Nobody; Allegra; MikefromOhio

Bump and ping.


21 posted on 06/20/2006 6:30:40 AM PDT by StarCMC ("The word of muslims will never, ever override what our U.S. Marines say." - TheCrusader)
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To: Pharmboy
Wars are often unpopular clashes fraught with moral ambiguity

Only to the media.

22 posted on 06/20/2006 6:31:46 AM PDT by StarCMC ("The word of muslims will never, ever override what our U.S. Marines say." - TheCrusader)
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To: StarCMC

"Wars are often unpopular clashes fraught with moral ambiguity
Only to the media."

It might be equally accurate to say, "Only because of the media."


23 posted on 06/20/2006 7:27:02 AM PDT by dsc
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To: dsc

Definitely.


24 posted on 06/20/2006 8:24:34 AM PDT by StarCMC ("The word of muslims will never, ever override what our U.S. Marines say." - TheCrusader)
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To: Pharmboy

The MSM was as inaccurate then as they are now--they have just changed sides since then...(they used to be on OUR side!)

No reason to think that the MSM was any more accurate during "The Great War" than they are now.

For instance...

"THE MARINES AS "DEVIL DOGS"
(Teufelhunden) WW I

Marines are generally of the belief that the name "Devil Dogs" (teufelhunden in German) comes from the WW I German army which described their enemy (the U.S. Marines) as teufelhunden, a name they had for wild dogs that roamed Bavaraia, etc. Most book accounts on this claim that this is documented in official German dispatches of the time. Apparently, no such documentation exists.

The following is from the book, "The United States Marines-A History," by Edwin Howard Simmons, Naval Institute Press,1974, 3dEdition. page 100....

"The Germans made their own sober assessment and begrudgingly allowed that the marines, with more experience, might be considered to be of storm-trooper quality. The marines earnestly told each other that the Heinies were calling them 'Teufelhunden,' or 'Devildogs,' but there is no evidence of this in German records."

In addition, I notice that in his book, "Soldiers Of The Sea," Col. R.D. Heinl, usually a very thorough and detailed historian/writer, mentions neither the term "Devil Dog" nor "teufel hunden" when discussing Belleau Wood, etc.

Anyone with factual knowledge of documentaion to the contrary of General Simmon's work, above, please be kind enough to advise me--my thanks."
-rwg

SEE ALSO: Myth #13 - DEVIL DOGS

http://www.furl.net/item.jsp?id=3925984

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
More On Daly Whatever He Said--It Wasn't OohRah!!! -Dick Gaines

"Come on you sons of bitches--do you want to live forever?" attributed to Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Daly, at Belleau Wood, in June 1918* *Some accounts have it that Daly said, "Come on you crazy sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?" Daly himself denied having uttered any such vulgarity. When asked about the alleged statement, he told a reporter "You know a non-com would never use hard language. I said, For goodness sake, you chaps, let us advance against the foe."

On another occasion, however, Daly said, that his words were, "For Christ's sake, do you want to live forever?" and on yet another occasion claimed he'd said "Gracious, you chaps, do you want to live forever?"

Whatever it was Daly said, the sentiment has certainly been expressed before. Holding the line at the Battle of Malvern Hill (1June 1862), Nelson A. Miles (later a distinguished Indian fighter and Commanding General of the Army during the War with Spain) heard an unknown Confederate colonel lead an attack with the cry, "Come on! Come on! Do you want to live forever?" (Ref Marine Corps Book of Lists, Nofi, Combined Publishing, 1999, page 181)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Floyd Gibbons and Belleau Wood

http://gunnyg.blogspot.com/2003_04_22_gunnyg_archive.html

:"The Marines got what the Army considered to be an inordinate amount of publicity for Belleau Wood. On 6 June, Floyd Gibbons had filed a story that began, 'I am up front and entering Belleau Wood with the U.S. Marines.' He was then badly wounded, including the loss of his left eye. Under the heavy-handed press censorship the names of of units and their locations were not ordinarily allowed in press dispatches. However, the censors, thinking that Gibbons was dying and had filed his last dispatch, allowed his story to go through uncensored. An American public, hungry for war news, seized upon the story that the Marines had saved Paris. This did not go down well with the Army, which chafed at the lack of mention of what the Army components of the 3d Division had done, to say nothing of the considerable contributions of the 3d Division at Chateau-Thierry. Worse, some newspapers gave the Marines credit for Chateau-Thierry itself. It was something that rankled the Army for many years to come."
-Simmons

In addition to the above account regarding Floyd Gibbons' dispatch and the resulting effect on the homefront public, and on the Army, there is this account from still another former Marine and author.
"Almost all of those Americans were doughboys, and they fought with the ferocity of soldiers robbed of their glory. Because of a slip in Pershing's iron censorship, the Marine brigade had been identified. It was the only unit so identified throughout the war, and as it happens when the press knows no other name, too often the glories of the doughboys were pinned on the breasts of the Marines. The Marines did not seek this distinction, although it helped to make the reputation of the Corps, but the doughboys thought that they did.Thus, the 2nd's infuriated soldiers took it out on the Germans dug in at Vaux on the right flank of Belleau Wood. They drove them out, and the first messenger of victory was a gigantic doughboy captain carried into a forward hospital with his legs in bloody splints. Sitting erect on his stretcher, groggy with ether, he cried out exhultantly: 'Oh, the goddam sonsabitches! The headline-hunting bastards! We showed the sonsabitches how to do it!'
The captain was not referring to the defeated German enemy."
-Leckie

And, in George B. Clark's book, "Devil Dogs-Fighting Marines of World War I,"--clearly the most detailed and factual account, of Marines In WW I to be found anywhere--the author states, in part, regarding the dispatch of 6 June, 1918, "...Gibbons, a war correspondent, ...was to have a greater impact on the Marine Corps, the AEF, and the folks at home than any other for sometime to come. He had taken the trouble to send a story to the censors in Paris, before the assault even took place, clearly intending to fill in a few colorful words after the fight was over. His being wounded the same afternoon was duly reported widely and reached the censor who had the story in Paris. Since Gibbons hadn't showed up at any aid station, the reaction was that he must have been killed. Therefore, the censor, a longtime former newsman and friend, allowed the story to go through uncut. That wouldn't have made much difference in most cases, but in this one its impact clouded relations between Marines and the U.S. Army for the next half century."
-Clark

Because Gibbons had, against AEF regulations, stated the unit he was with, the U.S, Marines, "...his bloodcurdling embellishment made it seem as though the Marines were the only American troops fighting in France...when Gibbons 'information' became known in the United States, along with the news of the desperate fighting...the public easily put two and two together and got the U.S. Marines for an answer...It would be the Marines that were fighting the Germans...as far as the American newspaper-reading public was concerned, and the army howled. The use of the word Chateau-Thierry, the name of a sector as well as a town, would infuriate the 3d Infantry Division...The 3d Brigade was equally in an uproar. 'Those publicity hungry gyrenes...etc.' The Marines were entirely blameless for the blunder, but soldiers of all ranks never accepted their excuses or forgave them."
-Clark
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And, on and on.


25 posted on 06/20/2006 8:31:19 AM PDT by gunnyg
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To: Pharmboy

Wonderful, so now they are trying to tear this hero down also?

What? Is it not enough to do it to present day heroes, they have to go back and try to knock down historic ones also?

Makes me sick.

I spit at them - ptoouie!


26 posted on 06/20/2006 8:50:42 AM PDT by eyespysomething (Chuck Norris was what Willis was talkin' about.)
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To: .44 Special

I listed to my gandma, stayed fairly right, and bought myself a S&W .44 Special. Hand no problems ever since


You're a man I can appreciate. I concur on the .44 Special and currently own the following Smith&Wessons,a 3" 396, a 4" 624, a 5" Model of 1926, and a 6.5" Model 24. As you say no problems.


27 posted on 06/20/2006 8:59:38 AM PDT by TEXASPROUD
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