Springville-Griffith Institute graduate passes on World War II stories at S-GI
Saturday April 12, 2014 | By:Springville Journal Staff |
SPRINGVILLE — Ken Andrews is a 1963 graduate of Springville-Griffith Institute High School. He spent 37 years teaching high school and coaching high school and college sports. Andrews also started and ran the Stars and Stripes Soccer Tour, which allowed him to take gifted soccer players to Europe, during their off-season for training and historical touring, combining his interest in sports and history.
“I’ve always loved history,” Andrews said. “Especially the human interest stories behind the headlines. When I retired from teaching, I decided to study World War II in depth.
“Inspired by Tom Brokaw’s ‘The Greatest Generation’ and Steven Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in 1998 and the 2001 HBO series ‘Band of Brothers,’ based upon Steven Ambrose’s book of the same title, I began to write ‘thank-you’ letters to WWII veterans,” Andrews explained. “As a result, many wrote back or called me with the answers to the following three questions I had posed: Did you think that growing up during the Great Depression helped you succeed in the war? When did you first know that the war was over, for sure? When I talk to groups about WWII, is there a message that you would encourage me to pass on to them?
“In our conversations, it seemed that many had stories but had not shared them, in deference to those whom they referred to as ‘the real heroes,’ those who did not survive the war,” Andrews continued.
In every case, the historian persisted in asking for details of those veterans’ own experiences. Andrews found that many of those who thought their time in the war had been insignificant, actually had compelling stories.
The alumnus returned to his alma mater to share these stories on April 10.
“Not all of these stories are about GIs, sailors, marines or pilots, but also about resistance fighters, spies, animals, workers on the home front, other civilians and even a couple who fought for the other side. As an active American Legion Member [as the adjutant of Braman Post No. 1229] and an avid supporter of Honor Flight, I am excited to have [had] this chance to pay my respect to the ‘greatest generation,’” he concluded.
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