If you are a baseball fan, you’re probably taking every chance you can to root for your favorite team as the MLB playoffs quickly approach. Most Likely, your excitement builds as you watch those you might consider the heroes of the game known as America’s pastime battle it out for spots in The World Series.
But, did you know? The world of major league baseball boasts a lineup of a different sort of hero—those who have served the U.S. in various wars.
Former New York Yankee, and current San Diego Padres broadcaster, Jerry Coleman, is also Lieutenant Colonel Gerald F. Coleman, USMCR (Ret.), a WWII veteran (also of the Korean War).
Coleman once said, “To me the height of my life, the best thing I ever knew, was the Yankees, wasn’t baseball or broadcasting. It was the Marine Corps.”
Here are some of the highlights of Coleman’s WWII service:
Fall 1942: Coleman joined the navy’s V-5 program, the training and testing program developing young flying officers for the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. Coleman chose to fly for the Marine Corps.
April 1, 1944: Commissioned as second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve and received his gold wings at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. He flew 57 total WWII missions.
Flew Douglas Dauntless (SBD) dive bombers.
Joined a squadron designated VMSB-314 and nicknamed “The Torrid Turtles.”
Received several honors, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, several Air Medals and a WWII Victory Medal.
January 1946: Released from active duty in the Marines and returned to baseball with the New York Yankees, first for their minor league teams, before moving up to the majors in 1949.
In a recent video interview—an oral history recorded at the San Diego Air and Space Museum–Coleman said, “There are only two things important in my life: the people you love and who love you, and your country.”
And now you have a chance to bring other WWII veteran’s stories come to life by putting together your own WWII mini-documentary. Go to the iHistory WW2 contest web site to find out how! www.heroes-ww2.org
David Vixie has taught in the class room for over 30 years and is known for his creative teaching methods. Vixie has received numerous teaching awards including the 2004 Wells Fargo Teacher of the Year award and Walt Disney’s prestigious Teacher of the Year award in 2005. He is currently an 8th-grade Humanities teacher in Paradise, California.
The narratives of human drama have traditionally been captured, preserved and forwarded by tradition bearers or history conscious individuals. Most people, like my parents and grandparents and even me, never write about their experiences for the benefit of the future. Some can’t. Some don’t know how and some are just too busy. The majority, I surmise, just don’t consider that what they have to say is of any significant value beyond nostalgia. Yet each story is incredibly valuable as a source of new information, of unique and typical experiences and of personal perspective.
The iHistory WW2 video contest will empower students to become historians. It will give them the ability to capture the story of the common person, as well as the elite. It will give educators and students a practical and valued role in gathering narratives that will help document the diverse American experience. It grants them the privilege of working with the Library of Congress to preserve and forward their stories into the future. Every interview is a moment when a student will have taken their face out of a cold textbook and looked into the warm face of a real person who shaped the democracy and freedom which they have passed forward. It puts them in a position to receive that inheritance with respect and gratitude. Every story is important for it is in the gathering of an immense variety of voices from the participants of historic events that we can help to bring equality to the historical record. Each interview will capture an important voice before it becomes historically silent.
David Vixie, recipient of the prestigious Walt Disney Teacher of the Year award in 2005, recently said, “The iHistory WW2 video project will empower students to become historians. It will give them the ability to capture the story of the common person, as well as the elite.”
iHistory WW2 Contest: Phase 1—Begins August 19, 2013
Aspiring filmmakers grab your video cameras and record some interviews with WW2 veterans about their experiences during the war. Go to the iHistory WW2 website to find ideas and tips for capturing your interviews, as well as for the official contest rules and instructions for submitting your video. All interviews meeting the minimum standards and guidelines will be added to the permanent archives at the Library of Congress.
iHistory WW2 Contest: Phase 2—Win Prizes for You and Your School
Transform your interviews into a 3-5 minute mini-documentary. Use the editing resources and footage, available on the iHistory WW2website, to give your film that creative edge and make the veterans’ stories come alive.
The Contestwebsite also provides excellent resources for filmmakers including: how to locate and interview a veteran, filming and editing techniques, links to free editing software, public domain WWII footage, and royalty-free music.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN IN THE IHISTORY WW2 CONTEST. Open to legal residents of the 50 US & DC, who are between 13 & 18 years of age & currently enrolled in a public or private junior high or high school, or home-schooled with an accredited & recognized home-schooling program. A minor should have a parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to enter. Void where prohibited. Contest Entry Period starts 10/1/13, ends 11/20/13. For Official Rules, which govern, click here. Sponsor: Worthington Foundation, Inc.