My senior college thesis in history at University of Pennsylvania was on foreign correspondents in Germany and occupied areas during the Third Reich, especially Edward R. Murrow and William L. Shirer of CBS News, which started their radio division to keep the world informed of what was happening before, during, and after the war, and every day since. I scoured diaries and archives in constant awe of their brave work. Their reporting changed and saved the world, I argued. Without it, we may have never known how dire the situation was and remained complacent when we needed to act. To these brave reporters, all the media outlets that supported them, & to all the troops whom we will never be able to thank enough who gave everything when we were down to nothing, I salute you on this 75th D-Day anniversary.
Here are a few photos that were a part of my thesis.
The first is William L. Shirer writing his report on a typewriter. It was the story of the French surrender in June 1940 in Compiègne, north of Paris.
The second is of “The Murrow Boys”. America’s eyes and ears were those of these correspondents who were hired by and working with Edward R. Murrow. Eric Sevareid, Charles Collingwood, Larry LeSueur, and William L. Shirer belonged to this group. Shirer ran the Berlin bureau while Murrow ran the London bureau. In their report they would take listeners inside air raid shelters, to landmarks all over Europe just before a bombing attack, and then to the ruble that remained after the bombs had fallen. They risked everything so that we would know everything. That’s what writers do.
I had a blast chatting with a class of 4th graders via Skype yesterday about my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, about all things writing. It’s a gift to be an author and encourage young people to tell their stories. Also, teachers inspire me and are the very best humans. Amy Artl is so passionate about helping her students understand the writing and revising process. I’m glad that I could encourage them by explaining that all of the things they have to manage in their writing—finding inspiration, the struggle of editing, and dealing with conflict—are all things that every writer manages, especially me!
Yesterday was their last day of school, and Amy promised them they could finish the book before today was over. They cheered and my heart melted! Want me to chat with your school about writing via Skype or Google Hangout? I’d love to. Get in touch with me and let’s set it up!