A live weekly radio adventure through Indiana history with host Nelson Price. Airs live on Saturdays from noon to 1 pm ET at WICR 88.7 in Indianapolis.
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The live show “Speedway medical care: a sequel” with guest Norma Erickson is currently rescheduled to air on June 17.
May 27, 2023
World War II monuments, memorials and sites across Indiana
On Memorial Day weekend, Hoosier History Live will spotlight landmarks across the state that honor Hoosiers involved in what's been called the most consequential episode of the 20th Century. We also will salute sites in Indiana associated in various other ways with World War II.
In particular, we will focus on monuments, memorials and other sites that are not well known statewide, have been developed in recent years or are distinctive in special ways. They range from a women's memorial in Kokomo to a massive cargo ship (it could carry more than a dozen tanks as well as hundreds of troops) that can be toured in Evansville.
As our guide, World War II historian and chaplain Ron May will join Nelson to share insights about the sites, which are featured in his new, photo-filled book, World War II: Indiana Landmarks. Ron also is the author of a three-volume series of books, Our Service Our Stories, that feature his interviews with World War II veterans from Indiana. He has been our guest several times, most recently during the holiday season last year to share poignant stories about ordeals endured during yuletide seasons of the war by soldiers overseas.
This time, the memorials, monuments and sites that Ron will discuss will include the Blue/Gold Star Family Memorial at the Howard County Veterans Memorial Park in Kokomo. The memorial features bronze sculptures of a family (a husband, wife and young daughter) looking at yet another bronze sculpture. "The object of their focus, standing 35 feet in front of them, is their grown son/brother in a military uniform," Ron writes in his new book. "His right arm extends out in front of him, and his open hand reveals the desire to connect with his family." During World War II, about 16 million Americans left their families to serve "in places far from their loved ones," Ron notes. More than 450,000 of them did not return home alive.
In 2021, five years after the Blue/Gold Star Memorial was erected, another distinctive memorial was dedicated in Kokomo. The Indiana Women's Legacy Memorial near the Howard County Courthouse consists of three bronze statues of women on pedestals: an armed soldier who is kneeling; an aviator holding her helmet, and a "Rosie the Riveter". The latter statue, as Ron puts it in World War II Indiana Landmarks, symbolizes "all women who have worked on the homefront to support their families and nation."
In Munster, Ind., the Community Veterans Memorial is a nine-acre park that features both a Pacific War Monument and a European War Monument honoring the military who served in those theaters of WWII. Both monuments in the park (which is on land donated by a local hospital) are dramatic. The European War Monument includes a bronze sculpture of a military radioman calling out for his comrades on Omaha Beach. The Pacific War Monument features a Marine reaching for the hand of an airman trapped in the wreckage of his crashed plane.
Among the other sites that we will spotlight during our show are:
Our show will not focus on some well-known landmarks, including the Indiana War Memorial and the USS Indianapolis Memorial in Indianapolis, so we can spotlight sites that typically don't receive statewide attention.
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Roadtrip: Spring Mill State Park
Spring Mill State Park is a 1,358-acre state park, and has a Pioneer Village, the Gus Grissom Memorial and the accompanying Gemini 3 space capsule, a nature center, several caves, campgrounds, and, of course, the historic grist mill.
"President Lincoln" will be phoning from Spring Mill surrounded by a slew of soldiers dressed in blue and gray battling it out, reminding us of the Civil War, our nation's most vital conflict. Most folks are aware that Honest Abe grew up in the Hoosier State (age 7-21), but many do not know that the grist mill at Spring Mill State Park was built during his childhood in Indiana. We expect to hear some inspiring words from President Lincoln on Saturday.
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