Archive for April 2023
Immortal Valor - Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Awards Finalist
The remarkable story of the seven African American soldiers ultimately awarded the World War II Medal of Honor, and the 50-year campaign to deny them their recognition.
In 1945, when Congress began reviewing the record of the most conspicuous acts of courage by American soldiers during World War II, they recommended awarding the Medal of Honor to 432 recipients. Despite the fact that more than one million African-Americans served, not a single Black soldier received the Medal of Honor. The omission remained on the record for over four decades.
But recent historical investigations have brought to light some of the extraordinary acts of valor performed by black soldiers during the war. Men like Vernon Baker, who single-handedly eliminated three enemy machine guns, an observation post, and a German dugout. Or Sergeant Reuben Rivers, who spearhead his tank unit's advance against fierce German resistance for three days despite being grievously wounded. Meanwhile Lieutenant Charles Thomas led his platoon to capture a strategically vital village on the Siegfried Line in 1944 despite losing half his men and suffering a number of wounds himself.
Ultimately, in 1993 a US Army commission determined that seven men, including Baker, Rivers and Thomas, had been denied the Army's highest award simply due to racial discrimination. In 1997, more than 50 years after the war, President Clinton finally awarded the Medal of Honor to these seven heroes, sadly all but one of them posthumously.
These are their stories.
Directing a Revolutionary War Film on Location in Virginia
This past weekend I had the pleasure of directing the Feature Trailer for a Revolutionary War film, Elijah and George. I had written the screenplay five years ago, and I wanted to share some video taken by a crew member on their phone. This is my directing the "fight scene" in the trailer. The intensity of the action comes through even in this grainy phone video.
We had an ambitious schedule with nine pages of script and 21 locations but my top-notch crew out of Richmond, VA brought their A-game. We wouldn't have gotten it all done if the crew were not complete pros.
We were filming on the property of Tuckahoe Plantation, which was the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson until the age of six. The property is virtually unchanged since that time and filled with history. It was a privilege to film at such a historic site. I recommend a visit as it is open to the public.