The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


May 10, 2014

Don McAllister: Interviews with soldiers create priceless memories

Every day starts a new story, and most are full of memories to savor and share.

I remember the night I was invited to watch the Jenness family record their music. It wasn’t like the movies. Instrumentals and vocals were recorded separately and mixed to make the finished songs. I was reminded of this process when our friend Dick Whitaker told me that the Discovery Network had come to his home to record his account of the Battle of Sugar Loaf Hill on Okinawa in WWII.

The Discovery crew pulled into Dick’s suburban neighborhood in a big semi. Out jumped a crew who covered the outside windows of Dick’s house. Then they laid a camera dolly track from his front door to the living room where we interviewed Dick in 2006. Just before the grueling 12-hour session began, the director looked into the camera and said, “I see a flicker.” The crew scrambled to cover the windows from the inside to vanquish the foul flicker.

This was to be part of “Against the Odds,” a series that would appear on the American Heroes (formerly Military) Channel. The night Dick’s part of the series premiered I sent Dick an email: “You looked good Dick, but I thought I saw a flicker.” We have a long standing tradition of giving our hero a hard time. Dick’s reply was humbling: “Don, my interview with you and Hershel stands out as the best. It's the one I will 'hand down.' I owe you big time! Privileged and very fortunate to know you, Don. Semper fi, Dick.”

Dick also knighted us as honorary members of his 29th Marines based on the interviews we’ve done with the men of the 6th Marine across the country. This was no small honor.

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