Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

I'm Glad That's Over

That sound of wind rustling through the treetops you may have heard last night was my sigh of relief when my second of two appearances on The History Channel drew to a close. After being interviewed for the programs I began to wonder if I had either made a fool of myself or come across as a big mouth trying to sound like a hero of the Normandy Campaign. I wasn't a hero, just someone who tagged along with the others and did the best he could. But film editors can take a sentence here and another there and the result may not be what the speaker intended.
So I held my breath, but it turned out I had nothing to fear. The editors of the two episodes of "The Lost Evidence" did a fine job. It did seem that I had a lot to say but I don't think it sounded like boasting. At least I hope not.
It came as a real surprise that they dramatized a couple of events I mentioned, one in each episode. In "Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War" I wrote about a German SS soldier wearing a pink shirt and hopping around like he was having the time of his life as he fired a machine pistol. It was a shock to see it unfold before my eyes again last night.
The producers never resorted to Hollywood foolishness. In their dramatizations men who were shot just fell to the ground without theatrics and that's the way it was. The majority of the scenes of actual combat were from the German prospective because most American cameramen hid out back at some headquarters well in the rear.
For some reason they failed to mention that my regiment of the 4th Infantry Division joined with the French 2nd Armored Division in liberating Paris on August 25, 1944. That was OK, though, because the French did the bulk of the fighting. They also showed the 28th Division parading through Paris three days later and people who don't know better think that was the liberation. But that's OK too because a good share of those men in the 28th Division later died in the Hurtgen Forest. You can read about it in the book "Follow Me and Die."
So I was pleased with the result and feel the producers and editors did as good a job as possible in dealing with war on the front line. They never resorted to the "Saving Private Ryan" nonsense. There is no way to depict that war as men lived it, as it was seen by them, as it was smelled by them, of course. You can't portray the fear, the hopelessness, the very real horror of it all. You had to have been there and if you weren't, be thankful.

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