History, Hollywood intersect in Veterans Day event
By MATT CAMPBELL
The Kansas City Star
An American hero and the Hollywood star who portrayed him will be remembered this Veterans Day during a special event at the Liberty Memorial.
The son of Alvin C. York and the daughter of Gary Cooper will talk about their famous fathers in a free event at 1 p.m. on Nov. 11 in the auditorium of the National World War I Museum.
“We are thrilled to bring these two families together for the first time so that they may briefly share reminiscences of their fathers, who are both important to the legacy of World War I,” said museum vice president Denise Rendina.
The special guests will be Andrew Jackson York and Maria Cooper Janis.
Janis has loaned to the Liberty Memorial the Academy Award that Gary Cooper received for best actor in the 1941 film “Sergeant York.” It is on display through Nov. 29 in the museum, which will offer free admission on Nov. 11.
Alvin C. York of Tennessee was the most decorated U.S. soldier of the First World War and was awarded the Medal of Honor, presented by Gen. John J. Pershing, for action against the Germans in the Argonne Forest in France in 1918.
The citation read:
“After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and three other non-commissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading seven men, he charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machine gun nest was taken, together with four officers and 128 men and several guns.”
When Hollywood wanted to make a movie, York insisted that Cooper be cast in the title role. A documentary about Cooper will be screened at the Liberty Memorial event following remarks by his daughter.
The traditional Veterans Day ceremony at the memorial will be indoors at 10 a.m.