On June 5, 1944, Jake McNiece (right) led a group of paratroopers in World War II. After he shaved his head and painted his face before dropping behind German lines for D-Day, the look caught on with his men.
Credit U.S. Military
McNiece received four Bronze Stars, two Arrowhead Bronzes and was appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honor.
Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who have died this year.
The Dirty Dozen was a Hollywood hit, but it was based — loosely — on a true-to-life WWII paratrooper regiment. Jake McNiece led the group, whose exploits inspired the 1967 movie and earned the nickname "The Filthy Thirteen." McNiece died in January at the age of 93.
At Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Michael Johnson exercises under a long, steel framework set on a wooden platform. It looks like a giant jungle gym. Above his head are pull-up bars and rings. A climbing rope is off to one side.
It's here where he and dozens of other soldiers and sailors will remember the fallen, just after sunrise, on Memorial Day. They'll all take part in a grueling exercise regimen, part of CrossFit, the popular high-intensity workout program.
This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 5, 2001.
Quincy Jones is one of those people to whom the word "legendary" is often attached. So it was no surprise when, on May 18, the 80-year-old Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
Jones grew up poor on the south side of Chicago during the Depression, but moved to Seattle when he was 10. It was there, as a teenager, that Jones befriended and began collaborating with Ray Charles — a friendship that would remain strong until Charles' death in 2004.
If you think all the twitchy rhythms and random shards of melody flashing through Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring sound complicated, consider the poor musicians who have to learn it. And then there's the conductor, who needs to perfectly place every piccolo tweet and bass drum boom.
U.S. Navy sailors form a ceremonial guard at a wreath-laying ceremony to memorialize the victims of the attack on Pearl Harbor and pay tribute to the veterans of World War II in front of the Lone Sailor statue at the Naval Memorial in Washington, D.C., in December 2003.
In the fall of 1945, my father was honorably discharged from the Navy. He was one of the lucky ones. He'd served on a destroyer escort during the war, first in convoys dodging U-boats in the Atlantic and then in the Pacific where his ship, the USS Schmitt, shot down two kamikaze planes. My dad always kept a framed picture of the Schmitt above his dresser, but, like most men of his generation, he didn't talk a lot about his war years.
Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.
Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, 13.7. And her book, How Animals Grieve, makes a powerful case for the presence of love, affection and grief in animals — from a house cat mourning her lost sister to elephants who pay respects to the bones of their matriarchs.
Once upon a time, there was a small Hungarian village that was very proud of its sour cherries. The village was called Újfehértó. As in many Hungarian villages, tall cherry trees lined the streets and provided welcome shade in the summertime.
When communism came to Hungary after World War II, the government introduced big collective farms, and Hungarian scientists had to decide which cherries the farms should grow.
Each May we end the month and begin the summer season with a grateful nod to our veterans, especially those who gave their lives in service to our country. And this year, we mark an anniversary that may not be as obvious as Pearl Harbor or D-Day, but is certainly as important: 1943, the year WWII paused before it turned around. The year the Allies were able to stop Axis victories and advances on all fronts. It would be a few more months — well into 1944 — before the Allies seriously started pushing Hitler back, but 1943 was the beginning of the end.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. Eighty-seven-year-old Clarence Turner took quite a leap for his great-grandson. Turner's a veteran. He was Army airborne, parachuting into war zones in the Pacific theater during World War Two. According to WLWT News, over the weekend Turner donned his parachute once more, hoping to raise money for his great-grandson's medical bills. The child recently had a lung transplant.
Richard Overton is staying at home on this Memorial Day, and he deserves it. At 107 years of age, he's thought to be the nation's oldest living veteran. Overton served in the South Pacific in World War II. He says he's lived this long thanks to aspirin, a stress-free life and by keeping busy in his yard. He also says a little whiskey in his coffee helps to, as he put it, keep his muscles tender.
On this Memorial Day, I'm raising my mug to you, Mr. Overton.
President Obama toured the wreckage Sunday, promising federal help for the people of Moore during what's sure to be a long rebuilding process. The president's message was not overtly political. He did, however, take the opportunity to highlight the important role the government can play — and not just when disaster strikes.
A man views merchandise at an American Apparel store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif., on April 24, 2012. Each year, the company makes more than 40 million articles of clothing out of its L.A.-area factory.
When World War I broke out in 1914, it unleashed unimaginable carnage and upheaval. By the time the war ended four years later, nearly 40 million lives had been lost, dynasties had collapsed and the global political order was shaken to its core. But what about the year prior to the war? David Greene talks to Charles Emmerson, author of 1913: In Search Of The World Before The Great War.