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tv   Martha Mac Callum Unknown Valor  CSPAN  April 26, 2021 5:37am-6:03am EDT

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sterility basically. >> the latest book is the decadent society. others include privilege and bad religion. about two years ago we heard the news that martha maccallum was writing a book and that caught our eye because we are always on the lookout for authors with important new books who can join us for our speaker series. so, needless to say we were pleased when we learned it was true. martha was ins the thick of writing what was certain to be a
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best-selling newe book. it was about the heroism of soldiers during the battle ofer hiroshima. martha agreed to join us at the library to discuss her book. of course at the time almost exactly a year ago little did we know just a few days before she was to come, the coronavirus was going to strike and in the wake of the pandemic we were forced to close the reagan library and cancel all of our events including our visit with martha. i'm not exaggerating when i say we had to disappoint over a thousand people who were eager to come to the library to see her. now here we are a full year later. the bad news is that the virus is still with us but the good
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news is during this time the foundation developed the ability to go digital. we moved our speaker series online and began producing quality programming for the social media channels in a new and better format. tens of thousands of our supporters have been tuning into the virtual events we are bringing you now sometimes two to three timeses a week. this week we are thrilled to host the long-awaited event to discuss her book entitled unknown valor the story of family, courage and sacrifice from pearl harbor. it's just now coming out on paperback. all of our guests who reserved seats for these original event e had scheduled a year ago, i have great news. joining martha in conversation today about her new book is
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another truly remarkable woman, her fellow fox news host and best-sellingse author dana peri. i cannotca say enough about her. we are blessed to have her with us today to interview martha. two weeks from now, we will turn the table. for that program, martha hosts the conversation and for the new book titled everything will be okay. but today it is martha stern and we couldn't be more excited. let's join in on thejo conversation. >> a book interview with author and friend of mine who of course is the anchor of the story on fox news and this is her book unknown valor. it's an amazing read that came out c in february 2020. the paper book is out and available now.
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thank you for talking with me. you and i love to talk about books andt you were so helpfulo me when i was writing this book. in fact the first person i gave it to to read it and she's so kind as she went right through it. i came back with some notes. you are absolutely the person everyone would want to do that because you are so t thoughtful. i tried telling the story going to my grandfather's attic and finding these letters written by
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my mother's first cousin and when i would read these letters it moved me to tears. it wanted to be a book about something i would learn a ton researching and i spent the next three years researching hiroshima, learning about the battle, traveling and just sort of immersing myself in this one battle in the pacific from world war ii and i learned so much about harry and a lot about the men over there with him. >> he was 18-years-old from arlington massachusetts. his father died when he was 12 so he became a sort of young man of the house.
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at a very young age and then her son which was an absolute heartbreaking loss that reverberated. it's something that stayed with her the rest of her life and i didn't understand the magnitude of it. the way you structure the book is you have the story of the battle, the b buildup to the fit of the pacific the story that sticks with me is how they find out that pearl harbor had been bombed.
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>> they got to the johnsons and have hot chocolate and we are sitting in a booth and just arrived. stirring it to cool it off and then she heard something crackling on the radio and all of the adults in the room got nervous and started standing up and putting their coats on. come on we've got to go. all hell is breaking loose. the world has just changed in an instance but she remembered that for the most of her life and that changed everything because all of the young men they knew including harry went to the pacific and changed their lives forever. >> so he maps the battle. tell me about that and how he carefully looked at all the newspaper articles and tried to figure out where is harry now. >> that's one of the things i tried to find is one of the perfectly pressed newspapers and
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he would go through them all and in the newspapers there were these maps. he really didn't want harry to go. he felt strongly the world was going to be ending soon and he hoped that it passed him by as an 18-year-old. he was bound and determined. he wanted to serve his country and he wanted the adventure. and he left behind a girlfriend. her name was dorothy. he loved her very much. it wasna a teenage love story ad i know that because the men i met through writing the story that were with him. george coburn, when i met them independently confirmed he had a serious girlfriend he wanted to marry her. one of the letters he says it's
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almost easter will you please buy a corsage and i will pay you back when i get home. it's a heartbreaking story. he wanted to marry her before he left home, but that didn't happen. >> tell me about that. he's a historian and it helps to tell the story and a lot of detail but to the point where it kept my interest the entire time. >> we go through the battles of the pacific and he is also a war historian and he and i traveled together. he knows the battle inside and out and i wanted to be sure that it was military sound the way we were writing about all these battles and he did a masterful job of telling a lot of the battles of the guadalcanal in a way that rings true to both veterans and people who were there and also people learning
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about the stories for the first time so he t was absolutely integral in making sure that it was militarily sound and i worked hard to make sure it was accessible to people like me. >> maybe it is just me but i feel like i've read a lot about world war ii in europe both from a nonfiction perspective and a ton of fiction. but there is not as much written about the pacific. >> i think one of the reasons is that it's far away. the islands look the same two people that are not there. they look a little different when you are on them and people had a familiarity. they understood when the bombs were dropping on the st. paul those were images people were familiar with. it was d devastating. it made people wonder is that going to happen and it could
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have. that's where this was headed but it was a darker more mysterious placeof. it becomes a great interest of mine and i think the pacific is a great story for anyone who wants to learn more about this. it was a starting point for me to get the visual on what it all looked like. >> you had a documentary that you did. one of the things i loved you were able to talk to veterans which was amazing. there were 60,000 and i never expected that i would find two people, not just one but two.
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i thought i wasn't going to find. i tried to find him and i had poured through the documentation of the injuries and everything and i couldn't find anything until the end of writing the book it was just it dawned on me because there is a scene we go on the beach and it's like a beach party they had been cooped up across the pacific and the leadership says have fun and it was a moment that was written and explained he was my best friend and all this and so it was driving me crazy writing about this moment piecing it together. i went back through his file again and found a document that i had never seen before.
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it was a request for his discharge papers written from melbourne florida and it had a more recent address for him that i had ever seen before so i started searching to see if i could find it because i knew that he was in his 90s and i couldn't find one. ndso working with another friend of mine who was a great researcher and helped me a lot i said this is martha. i am harry graves grandniece and there was a long silence and he said i think about harry every day. he said he was my best friend and he started to cry on the phone and his wife got upset.
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don't talk about it anymore. and then i felt terrible. but we reconnected a couple days later.e he said i thought he would have lived a better life than i did. i think when they watch this clip at the end you will meet him for self and see that he is a really special man. my father fought in the pacificr as a well. that trip wasn't easy to put together or pull off. tell us about going there for those of us that had a family that s served. what was going there like?
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>> you have to get a visa because i was working there to do research to go to tokyo and hiroshima is available for reporters and family members one dayr a year. there are two united flights that go and they basically transit everybody together as a group. one group i remember was with his son and grandson. being told to keep going. it's an extraordinary trip. you fly in and as you drop below the clouds you start to see
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where the famous flag raising happened and it is just everybody on the plane with a sort of happy feeling on the plane. gratitude to you for telling the stories and you have to read the book all the way to the end. it was masterful writing but you hear from them and kept in touch with a lot of people. one thing that is remarkable is the outpouring of people that
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were involved in the pacific and how it resonates with them. some of them are sweet and funny this is leon wallace from burlington new jersey. he said thanky you for writing this book. one person mentioned in your book he reminds me of myself and why i felt loved. it's a few miles north on the hudson where my mother grew up and i wanted to join like harry. i took the train to albany and enlisted. they hadn't had a lot of jungle fighting yet so i figured i would be dead. i joined instead. they were close so like harry it could have been me alongg with harry except h for being colorblind. i just wanted to tell you this story about mine being a lot like harry lee wallace.
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>> even from members of family that send the letters that they have from their loved ones as well this account is from europe and this young man was written up in the paper because he wrote to his family he had been given a bronze star. he said he told his parents how excited he was and what a beautiful ceremony and they gave a uniform and a bronze star and he says all of my buddies are as happy as me. athat's enough of that, but two years ago when i was training in the states i never thought this would happen to me. i never thought i would be ngknocking out machine guns into getting decorations for it i guess i haven't done too badly. all the ceremonies mean a lot and make him happy but nothing will make me any more happy than when i get back there on walnut street with the family having those good times all over again. there never will be a place
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nicer. i'm sending the metal to you, mom and dad. i certainly owe you a lot and maybe someday i can help you out. i will never be able to do foror you what you've done for me. i'm always thinking of you. tell everyone hello, love always your g loving son. >> i'm so honored by the letters people send to me and i want everyone to know i read them all and have a box of them and they've moved me to tears. >> you asked your children to read them and i thought in the time we have remaining, this generation of world war ii veterans, many of them are in their 90s now and losing their memory. we have to help solidify. what are the characteristics of that generation? >> i think you can hear it in
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that letter. it's the humility that describes them more than anything. they want to love their country their country and beat back the enemy that threatened our life.he no one is more responsible for the life than the veterans of world war ii because we would have lived a very different life, the humility in the letter he's happy and proud he had been able to do all of these heroic things but he wants to h get hoe and be with everybody. the other is a common thread is that pain of having survived with a lot of guilt and thinking about the other men that didn't survive. a good friend now who was 16 and faked his papers and ended up driving out and hit an obstruction. they lost 14 men on the boat and
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the steering wheel basically cut into his sternum and he was taken to the hospital but he said sometimes i dream that i see them and i want them to come to life so they can live like i did. i just want them to have a little taste of it but then they have to go back never a day went by. unfortunately he had that accident. you are a student of history obviously. is there a period of history that you're interested in? i'm becoming more interested in the korean war. there's an area that isn't
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written about a lot and i'm just sort of beginning to learn a little bit more about that so that is a time period that intrigues me as well and we are getting to the point a lot of those men are also getting up in years and we need to understand their sacrifice so there's a few things i'm poking around at right now just living in this area. i think that is another time period that i want and one of my motivators was my kids and wanting them to document the story and that's one of the reasons i do pull the letters out and read them once in a while because i want them to you these amazing letters but 9/11 had an impact and i think it's getting far enough away that we need to be reminded of the sacrifice those people made with no intentions other than going to work in the morning. >> you named your son harry.
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>> i did. i always loved the name and i never knew him obviously. i know it made my mother very happy and his sister who's still alive to have someone named for him because he had a short life .so it's nice to have that continue on. he loved the book and it hit home for him. >> you are an amazing anchor of the y story. i couldn't recommend this book enough as i said. he loves world war ii history and had to write. you were not ablein to travel fr the book tours but maybe you will be able to get out to the reagan library. >> i would love to do that at some point and be with everybody
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there. it's such a fantastic spot. i hope that maybe we can do something in person. >> we will talk. >> by everyone. thank you so much. >> c-span is the new online store. go there today to order copies of the congressional directory, a spiral book with contact information for every member of congress including bios and committee assignments, contact information for governors and the biden administration cabinet. order your copy. every purchase
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