My grandfather is a 90 year-old WWII vet who fought valiantly as a paratrooper with the 502nd Parachute Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division. Think Band of Brothers. Saving Private Ryan. The Screaming Eagles.

Yet when I asked him to come and speak at the library for Veteran’s Day, he shrugged, saying, “No one wants to hear about what I did. They can just watch a movie or read a book about the war. They don’t want to hear from me.” I argued that he was wrong – while many excellent books and movies do exist on WWII and the 101st, nothing compares to firsthand accounts of jumping from the plane on D-Day, liberating a concentration camp, struggling through the Battle of Bastogne and so much more. His stories convey the horror and triumphs, camaraderie and loss in a way that a book or movie just can’t express. Not to mention, he is one of the few soldiers left from the prestigious 101st Airborne. At 90 years old, each memory he conveys is living history, soon to be gone.

My grandfather will be speaking at the Elkton Central Library November 3rd at 7:00 pm. I’m thrilled because I believe that Cecil Countians ARE interested in history. And that’s why this winter, CCPL is presenting this and many other exciting historical programs that celebrate our local heroes and heritage. Join us for the following:

The 101st Screaming Eagles: A Walk with Heroes
Tuesday, November 3rd at 7:00pm
Elkton Central Branch

The 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles fought in most major European battles of World War II. Joseph Lofthouse was a radioman for the 502 Regiment from D-Day to Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge and Hitler’s Eagles Nest. Listen to his remarkable stories of an extraordinary time and of events that changed the world. Registration required.

Shipwrecks on the Chesapeake
Wed, November 4th at 7:00pm
Elkton Central Branch

The Chesapeake Bay is a key feature of Maryland’s geography, but less well known as a graveyard for ships, their passengers, and crews. More than 1,800 shipwrecks have been documented on the Chesapeake from the colonial era to present. Join Don Bonsteel from the Maryland Department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library as he discusses five of the most interesting cases documented. Registration required.

Restoration of the Elf
Mon, November 16th at 6:30pm
Chesapeake City Branch

Captain Rick Carrion will share the story of the Elf – from a derelict to a classic yacht.

Are you interested in history? Leave a comment about what interests you!

2 Responses

  • lk Posted October 28th, 2009

    All these programs sound amazing. Can’t wait for the program about the 101st – you don’t get to hear from those guys every day. There are so few left. A real treasure.

  • mer Posted October 28th, 2009

    It it so important to hear the stories of these men and women. We owe so much to them and to the ones who never came home. They all are heroes in the true sense of the word.