tv Martha Mac Callum Unknown Valor CSPAN April 18, 2021 8:00am-8:31am EDT
hesitant so we have to meet people where they are. we need to mobilize communications campaigns to. >> to watch the rest of this program visit our website, booktv.org and look for trends and seema yasmin. >> we heard the news that martha mccallum, the talented anchor at fox news was possiblywriting a book . that fact caught our eyes because we are always on the lookout for authors on important new books can join us for our speaker series at the library needless to say we were really when we learned thatit was true . martha was in the thick of writing what was certain to be a best-selling book.
one that was about the heroism of american soldiers during the battle of iwo jima . then fortune smiled on us. martha agreed to join us at the reagan library to discuss her book. of course, at the time we booked martha to come almost exactly a year ago, little did we know that just a few days before she was, the coronavirus pandemic was going to strike and in the wake of the e pandemic, we were forced to close the reagan library and cancel all of our events including our visit with martha. i'm not exaggerating when i say we had to disappoint over 1000 people who were eager to come to the reagan libraryto see her . now here we are, a full year later. the bad news is that the virus is still with us. but the good news is that during all this time, the
reagan foundation developed the ability to go digital. we moved our speaker series online and began producing quality egprogramming for our social media channels in a new and better format. tens of thousands of our supporters have been tuning in to the virtual events we are bringing you now from times 2 to 3 times a week. this week we are just thrilled to host our long awaited event with martha to discuss her book. it's entitled unknown valor: stories of family, courage and sacrifice from pearl harbor to iwo jima. it's just now coming out in paperback. all of our guests who reserve seats for the original event we had scheduled with martha year ago, i have some great news. joining martha in conversation today about her new book is another truly remarkable woman.
her fellow fox news host and best-selling author herself dana perino. i cannot sayenough about dana . where blessed to have her with us today to interview martha. two weeks from now we will turn the table . for that program martha mccallum hosts a conversation with dana perino on dana's new book entitled everything will be okay but today, it's martha stern and we couldn't be more excited. let's join in their conversation. >> welcome to this book interview with author and friend of mine martha mccallum, anchor of the story on fox news and this is her book, unknown valor. it came out in february 2020 and were going to talk about all that. paperback book is available now. this is the subtitle. a story of sacrifice from pearl harbor to iwo jima.
i love books, i read every word of this book and i loved it. it's one of the books has stayed with me the most that i've read in recentyears . >> thank you and thank you for talking with me. you and i love to talk about books and you were so helpful to me when i was writing this book. dana was the first person i gave it to and she was so kind. she went right through it right away and came back with notes . you are absolutely the person that everybody would want to do that because you're so thoughtful. >> we are early readers here. let's go back to set the stage for everybody. how did you decide to write this book and the personal connection you have to. >> i'm grateful to the editor because when we started talking about writing a book i told him the story about being a little girl and going up to my grandfathers and in finding these letters written by my mother's first cousin
harry gray was killed when he was 18 and from a young age i read these letters they moved me to tears i'm going to put the time is writing a book i wanted to be a book that's going to be about something i'm going to learn@ researching and i spent the next three years researching iwo jima, learned about the battle, traveling to iwo jima and just sort of immersing myself in this one from the person from world war ii i learned so much about harry as not only that i learned a lot about the men were there and b. >> tell you about harry. >> he was 18 years old from arlington massachusetts. his father died when he was 12 so he became a young man of the house. he was very close to his sister and his mother. we were all very close, they were pretty small family so i grew up knowing her pretty well and i wondered about the loss she suffered losing her
husband at a young age and her son was an absolute heartbreaking loss that reverberated through my family even as kids my mom was close to her cousin . it was like a big brother to her losing him was something that stayed withher the rest of her life as a child i didn't understand the magnitude . you feel those days when your little more i dug into the letters the more i realized why this was such a huge part of her life and her family. >> the way you structure the book you have the story of the battle you will jima, the look to the site you interspersed that stories you remember from your childhood that you've researched and if you wouldn't mind telling everybody. one of the stories that sticks with me when they find out that pearl harbor has been involved. >> i remember my mother tellingme they . she said we went to church and they told a family friend got to go to howard johnson's
and we were sitting in the booth and it had just arrived with whipped cream on top and she was storing it to cool it off and she heard something crackling on the radio and suddenly all the adults in the room got nervous and started standing up and putting their close on and she remember her mother jabbing her saying otwe got to go. all hell is breaking loose, the world has just changed in an instant and she didn't know what was going on she remember that moment for the rest of that changed everything lbecause all the young men and you including harry, he would go a couple of years later to the specific. it changed their livesforever . harry's mother, he maps the battle, tell me about that and how he carefully look at all the newspaper articles and was trying to figure out where isharry now ? that was one of the first things we discover were always perfectly pressed
newspaper that he kept the headlines from all the major battles and he would go through them all and there were these mass so he had them on the wall and he had pins in and he really did not want harry to go. he felt strongly the war was going to be ending fairly soon and he hoped that backup could pass them by as an 18-year-old who haven't adleft yet in 1944 harry was just bound and determined to go and you want to serve his country, one of the adventure . he left behind a girlfriend. >> he did. >> her name was dorothy, she was called. and he loved her very much. it was a teenage love story i know that because of the men i met through writing this story were with him. george colburn and charlie and the people confirmed and said he had serious girlfriend at home and want to marry her in one of the letters i read he said in its almost easter, would you
please buy a corsage i'll pay youfor it when i get home . and you know, it's heartbreaking story of young love. wanted to marry her before he left home but that didn't happen . >> tell me about working with ronald was a historian and he helps tell the story and a lot of detail to the point where it kept my interest the entire time. >> we go through the battle of the pacific and ron was a captain in vietnam and he's also a war historian and he and i traveled together to iwo jima. i wanted to be sure that it was militarily sound the way that we were writing about all these battles and he did a masterful job of retelling a lot of these battles in guadalcanal in a way that rings true to both veterans and people who were there and also regular people who were learning about these stories
for the first time so he was absolutely integral in making sure that it was as i say militarily sound i worked to make sure it was accessible to people like me. >> maybe this is me but i >> might have heard you say this . i feel i've heard you read a lot about world war ii in europe both from a nonfiction perspective and a ton of fiction. it's a great genre for me, i love historical fiction but there's not as much about the pacific. >> there isn't one of the reasons is it was far away. people all look the same to people that work there. they all look a little bit different when you're on and people have familiarity with your. understood when the bombs were dropping on st. paul's in london, just that people were familiar with. it was devastating to see hitler marching down the shops at least a. many people wonder gis that what happened in new york city and it could ask, that was where this was but the
pacific was a darker more mysterious place. there was a lower understanding of her iraqi so so all these stories took a while to get back home comes with just a great interest of mine. the pacific is a great series for anyone who wants to learn more about this period and it was a starting point for me to get visual on what it all looks like. >> you have documentary you did about the book unknown fowler and i loved it. one of the things i love though is these personal stories so in your research you find and are able to talk to veterans that served with harry. >> there were 60,000 marines on iwo jima and i never expected that i would find two people, not just one but two who were with him that day. and one of them was his dear friend george colburn who i thought i wasn't going to find. i had tried to find him and i
had great records that i had poured through their injuries, the documentation of their injuries and everything and i couldn't find anything elseon george colburn . toward the end of writing the book it was just bothering me so much because there's a scene where they go swimming on the beach and it's like a beachparty, it's a break . they can cooped up in the pacific and the leadership says have fun, jump in the water and it was a moment that was written about by george coburn and he wrote a letter after harry died to my aunt explained harry and i went swimming and he was my best friend, all of this. so it was driving me crazy that i was writing about this moment trying to piece it together based on what i know . i wish i could talk to george so i went to his file again and i found document i had never seen before or when i would come across it but i never focused on it and it was a request for his military discharge papers
that it was written from melbourne florida after he moved to massachusetts and had recent address so i started searching obituaries in melbourne fflorida of george coburn . and i couldn't find one. so working with another dean law that will help me a lot, by 9:00 the next morning we were on the phone with george and when we called him, i said george, this is martha mccallum. i'm harry graves grandniece and there was just a long silence. he said to me martha, i think about harry every heday. he said he was my best friend . and he started to cry on the phone. his wife got upset in the background. she has a great boston accent and she said josh, don't talk about it anymore.
she said he has to go and i felt terrible that maybe we had upset him but we reconnected a couple days later and he was one of the most wonderful men i've ever met. he was just like so many of these men, he said i often thought terry would have lived a better life than i did. and it's just not true and george has lived an amazing life . he has a beautiful family that i got to meet and when they watch the clip the end you're going to meet george themselves and you'll see he's. >> my grandfather on my fathers side brought back some sands from you iwo jima. that trip was not easy to put together or pull off. i think it only happens once a year or so but tell us about going there and you're able to bring back something for those of us who have family there that serve. but going there, what was that like?re >> it's quite a trip.
you have to get a visa to go to tokyo iwo jima. it's only available for reporters and family members one day a year. they opened the island for six hours one afternoon. there's two united flights that go and they transit everybody all together as a group. some of the people i went with were veterans going back to the island for the first timein their lives . one group was with his son and his grandsons traveling together and he told me amazing stories about what it was like on the island and how frightening it was and how terrified he was and how he remembered as an 18-year-old kid running with his rifle and tripping over lynn's and being told to keep goinguntil he reached the other side . it's an extraordinary trip. you go to guam first and thought fly into you will jima and you see the mountain where the famous flag raising
happened and people were chatting on play area is a happy feeling on the plane until we dropped below the clouds and it went violent. these men are so remarkable in their 90s making this trip and their energy was just infectious and i absolutely loved the time i got with them. >> one of the things i loved watching after the book came out was the outpouring of gratitude to you for writing the book and you have to read the book. all the way to the end because when you tell the stories about all the characters we meet through the book it's just beautiful writing. masterful writing i think what you hear from them. >> i kept in touch with a lot of people, charlie and george coburn but one of the things that's been remarkable is the outpouring of letters from people who were tangentially
involved in the specific and how it resonateswith them . i get these lovely letters and some of them are just sweet and funny. this is leon wallace from arlington new jersey. she said thank you for writing this book because harry gray reminds me of myself and how i feel blessed . i live in a town north of p still and i wanted to go to the marines like harry so on my 17th birthday i took the train to albany and enlisted. i was turned down because i'i'm colorblind. i say it was a blessing because at the time the japanese were good at camouflage so they needed men who could detect colors. i had not had a lot of jungle fighting so i would be dead. the cvs and marines were close so like harry it could have been me except for being colorblind. i wanted to tell you the story about my being a lot like harry . lee wallace. >> is lovely.
>> even from sons and members of family we send the letters that they have from their loved ones as well and it's just wonderful. this account is actually from europe from the european theater this young man was in the ispaper because he wrote his family and he tells his parents how excited he was and what a beautiful ceremony was and they gave him a bronze star and new shoes and he said all my buddies are as happy as me. that's enough of that but two years ago ago i never thought this would happen. i never thought i'd be knocking out german machine guns and getting declarations for it so i guess i haven't done too badly as the soldier . all those ceremonies mean a lot to a fellow and make him happy that nothing will make me any more happy than when i get back there on walnut street with the family having thosegood times all over again . their nipple evnever will be a
place nicer. i'm sending the metal mom and you dad . you can have it and i you a o lot and maybe someday i can help you out. i'll never you have done for me, i'm always thinking of you. the good and god bless. always, your loving son from the morning press, so it is, i'm so honored actually by the letters that people send to me and i want everyone to know that i read them all and i have a big box of them at home and a lot of them move me to tears which is not hard to do. >> you ask your children to read them and i thought in the time remaining, this generation of world .war ii veterans, many of them are in their90s now . we're losing their memories, you tell help solidify some of these memories and you've met so many of these veterans and what are the characteristics of that generation. stick out to you. >> i think you can hear it in that letter. it's the humility.
i think that's theword that describes them more than anything . they love their country, they want to serve their country. i wanted to beat back the enemy that threaten their way of life. no one is more responsible for the life that we lived in the veterans of world war ii because we would have a very different life so i think the humility you here in that letter so that you do all these horrible things but he just wants to get home and be with everybody and theother thing that the common thread is that pain of having survived . vothere's a lot of survivors guilt and a lot of thinking about the other men that didn't survive rhonda sharp is a good friend now who was 16. he ended up driving higgins boat onto the island at 16. it hit an obstruction under the water which usually they were clear one of them thinness and it hit the ball hit they lost 14 men on this against boat and the steering wheel basically into his
sternum and he was taken to the hospital but he said the guys that i lost, sometimes i dream that i see them and i want them to come to life for just the weekend. i just want to give them the weekend so they can live like i did and he said i've got a wife and children and i just want them to have a taste of it but then they have to go back because i want to stay here. >> president george hw bush, they said there's never a day went by that he didn't think of the men that were lost on his flight. unfortunately he had that accident that was shot down. so you're a student of history obviously. the people watching here, the great reagan library love history. is there another period of history you're interested in? i know this is a big project. >> i'm becoming more interested in the korean war area i think it's another area that is not written about a lot. and i'm just sort of
beginning to learn a little bit more about that so that's definitely a time that intrigues me as well. i think we're getting to the point where a lot of those men are also getting on in yearsand i think that we need to understand a more about their sacrifices . is one of the few things that are poking around right now i'm also so impacted myself by 9/11, just living in this area and i think that's another time that i want and one of my biggest motivators for writing the book was my kids and wanting them to document emthis story about family and other families and that's one of the reasons that i do some of the letters out and read them to the kids is because i wanted to hear these amazing letters but 9/11 had an enormous impact and i feel like it's getting far enough away that we need to be reminded of the sacrifice those people made it with no intentions other than just going to work in the morning. >> you need your son harry. >> i always loved the name
harry lwgray and i never met him obviously but i wanted that need to carry on and i think i know it made my mother very happy and his sister was still alive to have someone named for him because he had such a short life is nice to have continue on and harry the book, it definitely hit home for him. >> you're an amazing anchor of the story, utilization of the story and i couldn't recommend this book enough. as i said it stuck with me and also my husband ready, he lost world war ii history and he had say this really was an excellent book. >> i was nervous when peter was reading it because i know he's world war ii so he will like this. >> came out at the tbeginning of the pandemic so you weren't able to travel to bookstores what maybe you'll be to get out of the reagan library class i would love to do that at some point and be witheverybody there . i do hope that maybe we can
do something sometime but i'm so happy to send it. >> it's a bicoastal thing, we will talk. >> by everyone, thank you so much. >> book tv on c-span2, every weekend with the latest nonfiction books and authors . on the comes from these television companies who support c-span2 as a public service. >> on recent episode of the joe mobley show podcast, criminal profiler pat brown and her sunday discussed race in america and argued that black lives matter is ignoring the legacy of doctor martin luther king jr.. there's a portion of the program. >> i live in an area in maryland which is majority black community and made off
started sending me emails saying hey, your community you could join this group and of course i was interested because you want to get involved in something and you kind of would like it to be not like an hour away if you can have five minutes away so i said this is great, there's a book group, always cool groups and the groups were named african-american something or sisters with suitcases or yoga is for black girls andi'm like , there were just one or two, there were dozens of these and they were in my community so i decided i'm going to try and sign up with them as they are, this is where i live so i sent over i want to join your group and they saw my picture and they said you can't join because only for african-americans. and of course i was interested because he immediately. >> did a new you are arefrom africa at the time ? >> a look at my profile, your
life, not african-american which is funny because we have on merkel and she claims to be black and she is probablygoing to guess one quarter . >> that was news to me. >> i had no idea. >> so she thought it would be turned down to read for not being black enough so i said, this can't be happening in our country. we can't have lack only groups. we can't have white only groups, we shouldn't have to lack only groups, either one of them so i wrote and i said this seems like discrimination to me and a violation of the civil rights act of 1964, i want to join these groups and i can't because i'm white and she wrote back and said that's okay, we will help you find white people groups. actually said no help me find white people and i said are you kidding me. i said also, are you saying i can have a white only group
and that's okay mark they said yes. >> what could possibly go wrong. i said i have to test this to see if this is something that truly is acceptable. i made up white women yoga and for people who don't understand, i don't like yoga . it's a great thing to do but i personally can't and it. so i really wasn't going to actually have to screw and i don't want a group thatis white women . so i put white women yoga together and all hell broke loose and i started getting runs of emails. and messages through meet up saying we're going to tell me that your discriminatory. you're anazi, or kkk or a racist or a white supremacist , can yousay these things . don't you know, around people made yoga and it was funny because i was with all my indian friends who are kind of proud that i said i kind
of think i know they started yoga but the whole thing was amazing and eventually of course the idea got pulled and i went on to talk about this and i said carter, let everybody know first i do not want to like only group. and then after i did that show i got a ton of email which said thankyou, thank you . we're so sick of this division and these separations, we're sick of these black dorm and a black graduation. isn't this just going back in time and separating the races again and i say yes. that was what started this concern of mine along with everything else we've been seeing since obama came in. this is not where it started when i encountered it but it's been getting worse over the years this was my personal experience and then dave and i together and we decided we should bring this to people's attention and really, he said we have to stop it.
>> what did that look like western mark you get a phone call, text from your mom and she say i have a crazy idea . walk us through you came on board with thebook . >> my mother showed up at these and. [inaudible] >> it's interesting we live in a time in the country for the champion of freedom where standing up for your own opinion is during the but it is. >> like you said, standing up for your group once, the reason i signed on was that i've been pretty quiet. i keep my opinions to myself and you get to this point where you just can't hold back anymore. you're so irritated because everybody has a voice on twitter your demonized and go
along but then again, if you don't stand up and say something, we're sort of at this precipice in this country where it's absolute insanity it seems like were already taking that first step so i kind of myself you know, i've been quiet most of my life. it's time to stop being quiet and stand up and get my opinions out there and hopefully change the minds or things go completely insane so that's my goal here. i want to go to other people and say, i'm not scared. i'm not going to be shut down and you should be scared either best attitude you have to have, the attitude that regardless, you have to stand up for what you believe in at some point in your life or just you will lay down for that. >> wants the rest of this program visit martha mccallum, fi t