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Playlist: Memorial Day 2021

Compiled By: KHNS

Caption: PRX default Playlist image
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The Silent Generation: From Saipan to Tokyo

From Helen Borten | 58:57

The final year of World War II in the Pacific, told by men who came back and kept silent about the harrowing ordeal that changed their lives.

Daddatoanthony1_small Eugene "Bud" Clark, a pint-sized scrapper from Macon, GA, mowed down Banzai warriors, watched mass suicide on Saipan, and was severely wounded on Iwo Jima. Howard Terry was traumatized by his accidental killing of an Okinawan boy, returned home angry, belligerent and unable to hold a job. Anthony Daddato lost his best friend to friendly fire,contracted dengue fever,malaria and tuberculosis, and spent three embittered years in hospitals before a feisty nun's advice changed his outlook. Giles McCoy went down with the Indianapolis in one of the worst naval disasters in history. These are just a few of the voices in "The Silent Generation", a one-hour documentary that follows more than a score of men through the definitive year of their lives. Men from all walks of life and all corners of the nation. Men who melted quietly back into civilian life and kept silent for decades. Men who, as time grows short, have been moved to speak with unflinching honesty of events that changed them forever. Their memories are not for the faint-hearted. Here is a view of war from the foxhole. A side of war as relevant today as in 1945. To listen is to understand why they, like tens of thousands of others, could not speak for so long. "The Silent Generation" closes with their unblinking, often wrenching remarks on how combat later affected their attitudes, identity and everyday lives. Producer/Narrator Borten knits their stories into a chronological whole, adding archival newscasts, live reports from the battlefield, and little-known historical details that, together with these unforgettable stories, bring a momentous, searingly brutal chapter in history to life.

Independent Minds: At War in the Pacific

From Murray Street Productions | Part of the Independent Minds series | 55:54

A new perspective on the often-overlooked story of the Marines who fought in the brutal Pacific Campaign of World War II.

Im-at_war_in_the_pacific_title_plate_small At War in the Pacific tells the story of heroism and sacrifice by the young Marines who stormed onto the islands and fought from inside the foxholes in the bloody Pacific Campaign of World War II.  David D'Arcy hosts this compelling radio hour featuring personal testimony from the Marines and historical context from scholars. We hear how the Marines came of age during weeks and months of searing combat -- and how their sacrifices shaped the history of our nation. As the conflict unfolds in the Pacific, friends and relatives tell how they shouldered the burden back home. Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks offer their views on what the war in the Pacific meant -- then and now.

Module 1: "From Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal”
Months after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, marines launch their first amphibious attack on Japanese forces holding the island of Guadalcanal. The riveting story is told by marines Sydney Phillips and Robert Leckie, and historians Richard Frank and Donald Miller.

Module 2: “Tarawa and Peleliu"
In fierce island fighting on Tarawa and Peleliu, the marines secure vital airfields and confront Japanese soldiers committed to “no surrender.”  Marine Eugene Sledge and historian Donald Miller detail the jungle warfare, sacrifice and survival.

Module 3:  “The Propaganda War at Home”
The horrors of the “forgotten war” in the Pacific are sanitized by Hollywood, the U.S. government and tours of returning war heroes like John Basilone. But the American public faces reality from photojournalists on the scene, and Basilone’s return to duty – and death – at Iwo Jima.

Module 4:  “The Marines Come Home”
The Pacific fighting escalates with kamikaze attacks at Okinawa, and in August of 1945, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As we learn from marines Robert Leckie, R.V. Burgin and historian Donald Miller, the men who came of age in the brutal battles of the Pacific discover a longer and perhaps more difficult challenge ahead: adjustment to life back home.

Mine Enemy: The Story of German POWs in America

From Alison Jones | 54:00

During World War II, some 400,000 captured German soldiers were shipped across the Atlantic to prison camps dotted across the U.S. Suddenly the enemy was hoeing the back garden, and sometimes, sitting at the kitchen table. This sound-rich, hour-long special combines archival sound and period music with voices of those who lived this most unusual moment in history. This program from Backward Glance Productions features host John Biewen. It was produced by Alison Jones together with editor Deborah George, and mixed by Ben Shapiro.

Otto_and_linda_1945_small When captured German soldiers showed up to work the Camlin family farm in South Carolina, World War II entered the family's life in a direct and intimate way. Suddenly the enemy was there on the farm, planting tobacco, building fences, and even sitting down for meals at the kitchen table.

Some 400,000 captured German soldiers were shipped across the ocean to the U.S. during the war. The POWS went to work on farms and in factories. And in small towns across America, two warring cultures came in close contact. This hour-long special tells the story of a remarkable and under-explored episode in history, through archival sound and through the voices of those who lived it. Residents of Florence, South Carolina share vivid recollections of the Germans' time there. We learn about Camp Hearne, Texas, one of the nation's first and largest German POW camps, where culture bloomed until ardent Nazi factions seized control. And we travel to Germany to hear former German POWs, men in their 80s and 90s, describe the repercussions of their unexpected stays in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky and Mississippi.

The piece is richly textured, and the tone varies as layers of the story are explored: The arrival of the POWs was a big event in small towns in Texas, South Carolina and elsewhere, and locals were fascinated by the enemy soldiers in their midst. The story takes a surprising turn in Segment C as we learn about secret U. S. efforts to teach German soldiers about democracy. In Segment C, which recounts the end of the war, we also hear about how the POWs are shown films of German concentration camps. Towards the end of that segment, we hear form a former German POW who is now a U.S. citizen. He describes how, decades later, he can't completely forget the Nazi songs of his youth, and shares the disturbing words of one such song. We also hear former POWs describe how their time in America affected their postwar lives.

The Songs That Won The War (Memorial Day Special)

From WFIU | Part of the Afterglow (Jazz and American Popular Song): Specials series | 59:00

From 1939 to 1945, as World War II raged on, American Popular Music responded. On Afterglow’s Memorial Day special, we look at the songs of World War II, sung by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, and more.

Andrewssisters_medium_small I think it was Irving Berlin who once said “music makes history, history makes music.” And this week on this show, I’ll be exploring the music of an important historical event: World War II. Throughout the early 1940s, music played a key role in the war effort for America, serving as a way to boost morale, channel anger towards the Axis powers, or grapple with those complex, extraordinary feelings of loss. Coming up, it’s a Memorial Day special, focusing on these World War II songs performed by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Kate Smith, and more.

for Memorial Day -- Scott Simon hosts Alan Seeger: Instrument of Destiny

From Murray Street Productions | 58:29

From the trenches of The Great War, Alan Seeger's poems, letters and diaries spring to life in the voices of Cathedral Choir of St. John the Divine.

Recorded just before lockdown in the Cathedral, Patrick Zimmerli's new oratorio "Alan Seeger: Instrument of Destiny" fuses Seeger's formal writing with monkish chants and 20th Century music. Scott Simon hosts this moving hour of tribute to all those who saw combat, and those who awaited them at home


 A One Hour Memorial Day Special   

 Alan Seeger: Instrument of Destiny

A new Oratorio in performance

Broadcast Host: Scott Simon


“…Irresistible energy seemed to come from everywhere:

classical forms, jazz harmonies and Arvo Part-like meditations were all on tap...”


wrote the New York Times about Patrick Zimmerli.  The composer and saxophonist, whose recent collaborators include Brad Mehldau, Luciana Souza, the choir Mikrokosmos, and pianist Ethan Iverson, turns now to the Cathedral Chorus of St. John the Divine.  Weaving opera, jazz and choral traditions, Zimmerli brings Alan Seeger’s poems, letters and diaries alive in a compelling music special.   Our broadcast host is NPR’s Scott Simon.

The 59 minute Memorial and Veterans Day music special, produced by Steve Rathe and David Goren for Murray Street is available beginning March, 2021, from PRX.

Paris-based director Mirabelle Ordinaire conceived this work and wrote the libretto, gathering from Seeger’s words a whirlwind of emotions and poignant battle scenes. She directs productions with New York’s Metropolitan Opera and, the Paris Opera, and other companies in works from Berlioz to Mozart and Stravinsky to Weill.

Cathedral Choir Conductor Kent Tritle has been called “the brightest star in New York’s choral music world” by the NY Times. He directs Cathedral Music at St. John the Divine and Musica Sacra as well as the Oratorio Society of New York. He teaches at Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School.

Scott Simon is a journalist and host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday”.  Author of books ranging from biography to memoir to mystery, he has reported from every state, five continents and ten wars.  He brings a deep humanity to his work in every medium.

Featured soloists: 

Vocalist Alex Richardson is in his fifth season on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has sung major roles with the New York City Opera and solos with The Boston Symphony Orchestra and at Spoleto USA. His performance illuminates  

Pianist and composer Thomas Enhco’s jazz and classical performances can be heard on the Verve, Deutsche Grammophon and Sony Music labels. His melodies here bring both a light touch of classical repertoire and a thorough knowledge of jazz and improvisation.

David Rozenblatt is a drummer, percussionist and composer whose works have earned Grammy nominations in both classical and popular fields. He is the composer of five original ballets, as well as chamber, orchestral and operatic works. His multiple percussion parts bring gravity, swing and explosive energy to the Zimmerli-Seeger Oratorio.

The professional Cathedral Choir of St. John the Divine sets the standard for music at the Cathedral, both in worship and in concert. Its members include some of New York City’s finest singers, many accomplished soloists in their own right.

Photos available:  Alan Seeger; Patrick Zimmerli; Mirabelle Ordinaire; Kent Tritle conducting; Tenor Alex Richardson; The Cathedral Choir; Pianist Thomas Encho

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