“We should have you on the show sometime.” This week that became my least favorite phrase.
It has been four years since I stepped up to assure that the messages of American Warrior Radio would not go silent upon the untimely death of the program’s founder Dave Sitton.
My initial decision was driven by passion for the message, not business sense. Many listeners and guests are surprised to learn that the radio station does not compensate me for broadcasting the show. Quite to the contrary, I pay them for the pleasure to rent an hour of their airwaves. Thanks to our generous advertisers, this year will mark my first that American Warrior Radio will not be a very expensive personal labor of love.
My fourth year as host marked another important threshold. American Warrior is gaining sufficient traction that publicists, movie studios and public relations firms are now calling us suggesting their clients for guest spots on the program. We still do most the research and bookings ourselves, seeking out stories that inspire and need to be heard by the 99% of the population who never served in the military. But getting phone calls from New York, Hollywood or…Sioux City Iowa can be a real morale booster.
This brings me to my least favorite phrase. Not long ago I came across a series written by Tim Gallagher of the Sioux City Journal. It was about women veterans. One in particular fired my imagination; 95 year old Claire O’Brien who volunteered for the WAVES during World War II and served our nation for two and a half years. HERS was a story I wanted to help tell.
So I contacted Mr. Gallagher and not long after received a phone call from Claire O’Brien. Her voice was strong for someone who had witnessed nearly a full century and she said she would be happy to come on the program.
Year end is always tough. Programming is adjusted to fulfill promises. Many Veteran’s charities make a special push during the holidays. “Yes, we must have you on the show sometime.”
Claire O’Brien died this past Sunday. Luckily for our nation, her story had been told by others. But there remain so many others from her generation whose story, whose messages, if not recorded will be lost forever.
One year ago, we had Douglas Dillard on the show. He jumped in behind enemy lines during D-Day, survived the Battle of the Bulge and went on to lead covert operations in both Korea and Vietnam. He held every rank in the Army except General. Doug was a great interview and we agreed that he should come on the show again sometime. In September I received a note from his daughter – Doug had passed.
Often, “sometime” never comes. If you know a Veteran from that generation, ask for their story. Record it if they are willing to share. Their sacrifices must transcend time.