[March 23, 2021] A couple of days ago, I wrote about WWII hero Hershel “Woody” Williams. He was awarded the Medal of Honor at the Battle of Iwo Jima. Woody told me of the importance of education in developing today’s youth. And, fortunately, Woody’s mission is similar to that of the Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation (SYPF).
Occasionally, I will write a short article about those that do good things for our community. The SYPF is one of those. I wouldn’t have picked it out of the many great organizations to choose from, but this one is something special to me.
All my life, the movie Sergeant York (1941) has been one of my favorites. Alvin York grew up much as I did, fishing and hunting, going to church, and trying to be a good Christian. Maybe that is why I was so enthralled with the movie. He could shoot better than, it seemed, humanly possible. The SYPF tells his story.
Sergeant Alvin C. York was the most well-known hero of World War I. The SYPF’s mission is to “breathe life into history … by teaching the world about spirit, tenacity, and courage in the face of adversity through the inspiring story of the life of one of WWI’s most decorated war heroes Sgt. Alvin C. York.” Foundation leaders are dedicated to keeping historical sites and artifacts intact to be used as educational tools.
“One person moving forward and standing up for what they believe in can create a ripple effect, making our communities, our state, and our America a better place.”- Sergeant York Patriotic Foundation, vision statement
U.S. Army Colonel Gerald York, the grandson of Alvin York, tells us that the foundation promotes the values of courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment through increased awareness, education, behavior, and example. Colonel York should know; he is himself a Vietnam War veteran.
I had to ask a question about my favorite movie, “Was it accurate?” Colonel York said that the movie was primarily accurate but did not include his grandfather’s wish to address the need for better education in Tennessee. WWI ended in November 1918. The movie came out 23 years later and only after Alvin York approved. What was the most accurate piece in the movie? His love for his wife, Gracie.