Skip to main content

The Project's Reach

Our project has been the subject of two newspaper stories, in the Doylestown Intelligencer earlier this winter and more recently in Lancaster's newspaper. That article might still be available at this site on Lancaster Online. Jen Kopf, the reporter, did a very nice job summarizing what Lauren has learned and included a lot of images we've found so far in our work.

Duckworth 5 generations.jpg
The article included one of the neatest artifacts we've found. There was a picture of five generations taken in the late 1940s. The boy in the photo is Patrick Duckworth, son of 1st Lt. Edmund (Bill) Duckworth. The man holding Patrick is Jim Duckworth, who still lives in Arizona. Lauren spoke with him last week. 

In just a few days (the article ran Friday) Kopf's story led two people to reach out to me. Today I heard from one of Bill's relatives who still lives in Lancaster. She was thrilled to see the story in the paper, had hoped we knew of Bill's brother (yes), and requested that we record Lauren's eulogy and send it to the family.

Earlier, someone reached out to me who identified himself as a genealogist, but I suspect he might be a military historian. I don't know of any connection he has to Bill's family. He was bothered that, in his opinion, Lauren and I had the details of Bill's death all wrong. I had the chance to tell him that there are conflicting reports of the precise nature of Bill's death, though it's not in doubt that he died as a result of enemy fire on Omaha Beach.

The Institute makes it a point to put out press releases to the hometowns of our soldiers, and I can see why they do. History matters. There is an audience of people who crave to learn from the work of others for reasons that are obvious (family) and not really that obvious (the mysterious figure who questioned our historiography). Lauren's work won't just happen in a vacuum, and it won't simply get shelved never to be seen again.


Popular posts from this blog

My Second Trip

It's my privilege to travel for a second straight summer on a trip that involves research. In the winter I was accepted to a program underwritten by the National Cemeteries Association (which is part of the Veterans Affairs Administration) that involves research on the Korean War.

That it's the Korean War, not World War II, is one difference between this summer's work and last summers. Additionally . . .

I'm learning about two servicemen, not just one.

There are no students.

The no students thing is a bit disheartening. I came to adore the fifteen young men and young women on last year's trip. However, it's nice that I get to do the researching.

But I'll see many familiar faces on this trip: Paul, Amy, Lynne . . .

And I'll have the chance to eulogize a fallen hero, and to immerse myself in a period of history.

And I'll have the chance to bring something back to my classroom that is shaped by what I see and do.

- - -

The research began in February w…

Drawing from a few Marines' Expertise

One of the thrills from historical research comes from running down the answer to an unanswered question. I am wrestling with one such question regarding Bruce's service, and hunting down answers to it gave me a chance to better understand the nature of the beginning of the Korean War.

Bruce served a long Marine career. In fact, his career spanned four enlistments: 1936, 1942, 1946, and 1950. Here's a photo from his final enlistment document.

As one can see, the letterhead from this document indicates he was with the 2nd Marines. However, all documents related to his death indicates that he was with the 1st Marines as part of the 1st Marine Division.

This is a detail I might have not really comprehended when first scanning the large OMPF for Bruce. But after scanning it I talked a bit with my brother, Matt, who served with the Marines earlier this century. Matt has been very helpful for clarifying fussy but important details. For instance, in Lauren's project last year he…

Lessons as a Teacher

It’s impossible to leave this trip without a few takeaways for my work in the classroom. In fact, there are five big lessons that I hope to employ. Here they are.

Kids are ready for lectures. Our students were an attentive, learning audience for seven formal lectures. They saw a range of styles, from disorganized to organized, from conversational to professorial, and from very engaging to nuts-and-bolts. Some topics were quite abstract. And I’m convinced that the lecture on architecture in cemeteries marks the spot at which the group attainted a sophisticated level of thought that characterized the rest of the trip. As one of my peers her, Judy from Southern California put it, the lecture gave them permission to be scholarly without threat of judgment.

Kids are ready for readings. We read a lot in preparation for this trip. If students or teachers fell off pace, a staff member at NHD would remind us to get back on. It paid off handsomely. Students had context for what we saw and had a…