Meeting the Public in Memphis, TN

By Neil Earle

Sgt. Alvin York

Saturday, November 17 I enjoyed giving a public lecture at my new home in Memphis. Thanks to the staff at Cordova Library I was able to give a talk to a small but dedicated group about the significant accomplishments in the wake of World War One – 100 years gone this month.

Though 9-14 million tragically died, such sacrifice meant that many good things came out od the carnage. Those young men did not die in vain. First of all Germany lost and this saved us all from the Kaiser's wild ideas of where the world should go. Women got the vote – 1917 in Canada, 1920 in USA. International organization became more institutionalized through the weak but pioneering efforts of the League of Nations and radio and household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, washing machines and then automobiles appeared in the 1920s to ehance all our lives once the war machine refocused…

We ended on a high note discussing the career of pacifist Alvin York who struggled wth his conscience about violence but concluded (Ezekiel 33 convinced him – not being responsible for innocent blood being spilled). He knew he could help his friends more as a skilled soldier. Did he ever! He rescued his platoon from 25 German machine gun nests and almost single-handledly stood his ground to scare the enemy into surrendering – 132 of them.

York always estimated he saved all those lives through making them POWs. An Indian named Joseph Oklahombi did something similar and captured 171 POWs.

York wasn't proud of his actions, he always said, but used his fame and his Warner Bros payments to build and protect an Agricultural Insitute still there in Northern Tennessee.

"Warriors of peace" I called them and the audience agreed with me.

Thanks again Cordova Library for the opportunity.