Russ Gifford
Remembering World War II - 75 Years On


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My Presentations:

Those Who Came Before Us: Regional Prehistory

Native Americans and American History

The Founding Fathers

The American Revolution & Creation of the Republic

A History of the House of Representatives

Presidential Leadership

Contentious Elections in American History

One Term Wonders

Pivotal Moments In American History

The American Civil War and Reconstruction

The Crucible - America After the War of Rebellion

Westward Expansion

Traveling the West in the 19th Century

Supremely Confident: Legal Cases that Changed History

The Fight for the Right to Vote - the Women's Movement

Women Making a Difference

The Rise and Fall of Mass Media

The Great War

The 1920s

Regional Greats

WWII - 75 Years Later

Justice Delayed: The Civil Rights Movement

The Cold War

The History of the CIA

The War in Vietnam

My Generation: The History of the 1960s

Boomer Classics: Books that Shaped the Sixties

Into the Darkness: 1968

Power to the People - from the 1950s to Today

The History of Rock n Roll: The First 30 Years

Regional History

Those Who Came Before: The Mill Creek Culture

Iowa in the American Civil War

Sioux City: Our History and Our Hopes

Sioux City: Ground Zero in the Great Depression

Sioux City: Crime Corruption, & Redemption

World History

The Crusades

The Reformation at 500

Written Works and Articles

Spectacular Voyage: Lewis and Clark in Our Region

Murder On Water Street: The Death Rev. Haddock

A Glimpse of the Past: Steamboat Perils

Empty Parking Lots and Dark Wal-Marts

Susan B. Anthony and  Sioux City in the 1870s

A Chance Encounter with a Legend


Music of 1966:Summer in the City

Music of 1966:Music of Blond on Blond

About Russ Gifford

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Looking Back on World War II on the 75th Anniversary

The Sioux City Public Museum asked me to do a series of programs commemorating three major battles of WWII, with a focus on Siouxland's involvement. These are the programs. (D-Day and Iwo Jima have my audio, but at this time only the slides are available for the Battle of the Bulge.)

D-Day Remembered, 75 Years Later (link )

Bulge Remembered 75 Years Later  (link - slides only )

Iwo Jima Remembered 75 Years Later (link )

I started this series with the D Day invasion, did the second one on the Battle of the Bulge, and Iwo Jima is the final part. Consider What we learned in these three battles: 21,000 Japanese soldiers contested Iwo Jima fight, and some 70,000 Marines participated over the month-long battle. Over 27,000 Marines were casualties and of those, 6800 died on the island. For an island 8 miles square.

The first day of D-Day saw 156,000 Allied troops involved, and 4,413 died.
Is it any wonder there was a reconsideration of how many would die if the Allies attempted an invasion of Japan?

To hear the Al Molskow AFRT interview from the island of Iwo Jima during the battle, Click here

These three programs feature numerous pictures and memories of regional people, while attempting to keep the 'big picture' narrative of the battle.

May be an image of one or more people
At the Bulge talk in 2019: Veterans of the battle (Left to Right): Jack Smith, Bill Merrill, and Mel Forsling. 

(Photo by the Sioux City Public Museum.)

Perhaps the best part was during the presentation of the Bulge program, I asked if anyone there had participated, or had loved ones who had. The result was three men who shared their stories, while the wife of a fourth man told of her husband's experience as he had recently passed. We owe these men, and their families, a debt that can never be paid. Thus all we can offer is respect.

Mel's stories of a reconnaissance mission that stumbled onto Germans taking the parts of American officers to try to lead them away from their objective was riveting. Jack's experiences, among others, were of the foxholes filled with snow, the biting cold, and trying to stay warm. Bill told a poignant story that as a Tank Maintenance guy, he was just told to 'get in the truck, we're moving out.' He added, you just go where they tell you. He would not realize until the unit's 50th anniversary reunion in Europe that he and his unit served at the famous Battle of the Bulge!

Sad to say, it appears Bill and Mel are gone now, as are almost all the people I quoted in the three programs. But those of us who remain have two duties: First, to pass on those stories as history, so those who come after may learn. And second, to honor those who have passed.

It has been my privilege to recount the history of America. We honor these men by keeping their memories alive.

Need a world class presenter? Contact Russ Gifford click here

Russ Gifford returns listeners to a moment in time to show us the events of the era, and populates the story with the people we would meet!

“Russell was always ready to go for any class he taught for us. He is capable of presenting to all levels of people from the novice to expert. …  I would hire him again any day!”  - Lori Vanderheiden

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