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Hoosier History Live is an independently produced new media project about Indiana history, integrating podcasts, website www.HoosierHistoryLive.org, weekly enewsletter, and social media. Its original content comes initially from a live with call in weekly talk radio show hosted by author and historian Nelson Price. You can hear the show live Saturdays from noon to 1 pm ET at WICR 88.7 fm or stream the show live at the WICR HD1 app on your phone, or at our website.


July 06, 2024

D-Day and Hoosiers: 80 years later


As Hoosier History Live salutes the recent 80th anniversary of D-Day, a milestone during World War II, we will explore the Indiana connections to the largest amphibious invasion ever undertaken. Our guest, World War II historian Ron May, an author and chaplain, interviewed Hoosiers involved in various ways with D-Day, which was June 6, 1944. He also has researched the lives of those who did not make it home.

In addition, Ron has visited American cemeteries in Normandy, France, and Luxembourg. So we also will discuss Hoosiers who are buried at the graveyards, including a pacifist from Indianapolis who served in a medical detachment and voluntarily walked into a minefield to come to the aid of two wounded comrades. William McGee, who was 21 years old when he was killed in March 1945, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the military's highest decoration.

Ron May, who is based in Carmel, has been a frequent Hoosier History Live guest when we have explored World War II history, most recently on a show in 2023 in connection with his book titled "World War II: Indiana Landmarks".

In addition, Ron has been a guest on shows when he accompanied Hoosier veterans, including a program in 2016 with Walter Dreyfus, a Navy radio technician who arrived on Omaha Beach in Normandy a few weeks after D-Day. Walter, who lived in Greenwood, died in 2018 at age 95. In the preparations for D-Day, Walter and other radio techs frantically went from ship to ship, changing out the radio crystals (which contained the frequencies) so Germans would not intercept their radio communications. When he arrived after D-Day, Walter helped conduct sea burials for Americans who were still floating in the water.

Among the veterans who survived the landings on D-Day and the invasion were Greenfield native Jack Welsh, who was aboard a Navy ship that carried troops to Normandy, and Paul Shaerer, whose ship, the USS Nevada, provided fire support. After the war, Jack Welsh became an engineer and worked for Eli Lilly; he died in 2015. Paul Shaerer, who became a middle school teacher and principal, died in 2019 in Plainfield.

Our guest Ron interviewed both of them as well as Maurice Kent, who grew up in rural Morgan County. On D-Day, which was code-named "Operation Overlord", Maurice Kent landed with the 29th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army on Omaha Beach, site of some of the worst carnage. Although Maurice Kent survived (he died in 2019 after a long career at a railroad yard in Beech Grove), he later learned that his uncle was killed on D-Day on Utah Beach, another site of the Normandy invasion.

In addition to visiting Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, Ron May has traveled to the American Cemeteries in France and Luxembourg. According to Ron, one of the first Hoosiers to die on Omaha Beach was Curtis William McGinnis from Stilesville, Ind. Ron shares details about his research and interviews of World War II veterans on his YouTube channel at World War II History & Stories with Ron May. He says that, while touring Normandy, he noticed sheep grazing on a landscape full of craters caused by bombs dropped by Allied planes. "It was a strange contrast to see the sheep grazing contentedly along the very craters once caused by the weapons of war."

 

 

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More about our Hoosier History Live online collection . .

Remember that Hoosier History Live's most valuable asset is our online material. The Hoosier History Live ARCHIVES  is essentially our collection of previously aired shows that have been turned into podcasts, as well as their accompanying newsletters. And yes, we do control our online product! And yes, we do want you to share our enewsletters, podcasts, and Facebook posts. It helps our reach, somehow!

And here is another great show to listen to about Circus heritage in Peru, Indiana:


Click here for podcast

Circus Heritage, then and now, in Peru, Indiana

Once upon a historic time, a touring circus started spending the winter in the Indiana city of Peru. Circus performers, exotic animals (camels, tigers, ostriches, hippos and more) and equipment would "winter" and train in the town in Miami County.

Those beginnings in the late 1800s kick-started a heritage that flourishes, in a different way, to this day in Peru, which trumpets itself as the "Circus Capital of the World".

Every summer now, the Peru Amateur Circus showcases a youth program in which about 200 local young people from ages 7 to 21 practice and perform acts such as juggling, tumbling and flying on the trapeze under a permanent, three-ring "big top". It's part of the Circus City Festival's fanfare that also features one of the largest parades in Indiana.

To share insights about the deep circus heritage in Peru and how it was revived after the "wintering" of traveling circuses ended in the early 1940s, Nelson will be joined in studio by three guests. The guests, all from Miami County and board members of the Peru Amateur Circus, will be:


Trivia prizes sought

Our "History Mystery" on air contest continues to be very popular!  If you are an organization or business that would like to contribute tickets or admissions, please contact our host Nelson at nelson@hoosierhistorylive.org.

Prizes must fit in a standard business envelope. Hoosier History Live prefers to "snail mail" prizes to our trivia winners. And If prizes are time sensitive, they need to be offered well in advance of the event so that we can get them out in time.


We'd like to thank the following recent individual contributors who make the Hoosier History Live media project possible. For a full list of contributors over the years, visit Support the Show on our website.

  • Jane Simon Ammeson
  • Jill Lough Chambers
  • Jeanne Burke
  • Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
  • Anonymous
  • Marion Wolen, honoring Richard Sullivan
  • Margaret Smith
  • Charlotte Ottinger
  • Bruce and Julie Buchanan  
  • Sandra Hurt
  • Chuck and Karen Bragg
  • Ken and Luan Marshall

Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Nelson Price, host and historian
Corene Nickel, web designer and tech manager

Richard Sullivan and Ryan DeRome, tech consultants
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support!

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page. Acknowledgements to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Monomedia, Henri Pensis, Caden Colford, Jace Hodge, Jake Helton, Austin Cook, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution, either online at our yellow button on our newsletter or website, or by U.S. mail. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in our podcasts and in our show, please contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

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Your contributions help keep Hoosier History Live on the air, on the web, in your inbox, and in our ARCHIVES!

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