tv Sergeant York - The Man and the Movie CSPAN November 10, 2018 6:59pm-7:56pm EST
capsule that connects us humanly to 100 years ago and to the risks of modern mass destruction. so through these soldiers and this era and this human connection, we can hopefully prevent mass destruction today. that's why hope you'll come to see this exhibit and why you will feel like you were there 100 years ago, facing what they faced, and take from that experience the responsibilities that we have to face the dangers of mass destruction that we face today and avoid them and be strong and sober about what's important, which is that we keep our world human and safe. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] orouncer: you can watch this other american artifacts programs at any time by visiting our website, c-span.org/history.
on october 8, 1918, alvin york fought in the meuse-argonne offensive and single-handedly killed 25 men, and helped to capture over 130. he received the medal of honor and was one of the most decorated soldiers of world war i 23 years later, warner bros. made a film called "sergeant about the man from tennessee, his life, and wartime actions. up next on american history tv, alvin york's grandson, along with a filmmaker who made a documentary about the film, talk about the man and the movie. this is about 50 minutes. but first, a trailer for the 1941 film "sergeant york." ♪
♪ [gunshots] >> he got me. >> i ain't going to war. war is killing, and the book is against killing. .o wa is against the bookr ♪ and onto god the things that err god. keep undercover. [explosions] >> come back here. where are you going? >> q didn't give me a command. -- you didn't give me a command. ♪ steve: a trailer from the 1941
film "sergeant york" starring gary cooper. joining us from new york is filmmaker and historian john mulholland. and here in washington, retire out -- retired colonel york. what do we need to know about your grandfather? col. york: first of all, he was a fantastic grandfather. but he was a man from rural tennessee, grew up in the mountains, had the equivalent of a third grade education, ended up having a couple of life-changing experiences, and ended up getting drafted along with over 4 million other men for world war i, and ended up with company g the 328th infantry of the all-american division, shipped to france, and in the argonne forest is where the action he is best known for. that is where he killed around 25 germans, and he and his men
captioned -- captured 132. steve: we will look at highlights from the film. what are your best memories of your grandfather? you were 17 when he passed away. col. york: some of the best memories, one of the best memories is i got in trouble with my father one time, and he would not let my father spank me. i got behind my grandfather and he said, he is a good boy, it is ok. but i guess the legacy that he left me of doing for others. he was extremely patriotic, probably the reason i went into the military and stayed for 31 years. he was an all-around, fantastic individual who was very caring, very loving, and very jovial. steve: and yet, before he was trapp -- before he was
drafted, he was a pacifist. col. york: he had a couple life-changing experiences. and hishis father died, older two brothers had already moved out of the house, so he became the breadwinner, the head of the home. that changed him, made him work hard, and he became a hel lraiser on the weekends, drink and gambled. because of his mother and my grandmother, who he fell for, he strained his life out, went to church -- straightened his life out, went to church to see my grandmother, and had a life-changing experience in 1950 ande he became converted practiced what the bible taught. notbible said thou shalt kill, so he took that literally. he became a pacifist in that he
turned away from fighting and that kind of life. steve: and another element in this story, you mention your grandmother, the love story. col. york: yes, definitely. there was 13 years difference. my grandfather was 13 years old or been my grandmother -- 13 years older than my grandmother. he used to say that the day he saw her, he knew that is who he wanted to marry.her parents were very religious . him being a hellraiser and carouser, they did not want him to do anything with her. the only way he could see her was to go to church. that strengthen -- straightened his life out. steve: let's talk about this film, because world war i came to an end in 18 -- 1918. the film was released in 1941. john: yes. first -- when was
i first decided to make it, they were only going to do the post-world war i no, no war sequences. alvin wanted it to be about his marriage to gracie and his work for tennessee education. approached, harry warner and jesse lasky began to think it wouldn't really work on the eve of world war ii, or what would become world war ii, merely to have sick with this dealing -- merely to have sequences dealing with education and the marriage. gary cooper was an interventionist, and he refused to commit until there were sequences showing alvin york in world war i, because cooper felt it would serve as a wake-up call for america on the eve of what
would become world war ii. steve: why was gary cooper chosen to play the role of sergeant york? john: that is an interesting question. there are all sorts of rumors swirling around it. if it is true that alvin york had only seen one movie up to that point, it is a little hard to understand. however, if he was acquainted with cooper's work in the 1930's, then cooper was a perfect choice. , heral of cooper's movies is a seaman who has to kill certain people to save a greater number. in 1939, he made a movie called a fanciful and," inaccurate depiction of america's role in the philippines in the early part of the 1900s.
but cooper is a doctor who has to kill to save more lives. cooper desserts and chooses love -- cooper deserts and chooses love. in many ways, he was a perfect choice. but no one is really sure. told that i was ronald reagan was also under consideration, a young actor at the time and part of the warner moviehouse. john: that is apparently so. they apparently did screen tests. there was another one, they went to an actor named joel mcrae, because cooper kept backing away until there was more about the war. said,read the script and i will do it in a heartbeat. but they were very good friends, and cooper went to mcrae not realizing he had been asked to do it, and discussed it with him. cooper admitted he did not think
he wanted to make a movie about a conscientious objector when he felt we should be getting ready for war, not backing away from it. convinced him that you will be a hero if you do this movie. that was another reason that cooper went along with it. steve: in terms of the timing of the release in 1941, it came out earlier this year, 1941. the u.s. entered the war. explain the timeline. july it opened in early 1941 in new york. the countrytime, was almost equally divided between interventionists and isolationists. wereof the isolationists saying a mere 20 years ago, we thought the so-called -- fought
the so-called war to end all wars, and now you are saying we need to fight another war. interventionists were saying what is happening in germany and italy and spain and france is going to affect us. falls, there is nothing to stop germany from coming over here. victory, not unlike what is happening today. and angress got involved, senator from the dakotas, burton senatorfrom montana, bennett clark from missouri had the movie taken out of circulation. hearingstarted a whole in which york was subpoenaed, harry warner appeared, i'm not sure if cooper was subpoenaed or
not, but they wanted him. it grew to the point that they were going to censor hollywood movies, say they did not deserve first amendment protection, that they were entertainment and a business and nothing to do with freedom of speech. on, --bad hearings went but as hearings went on, it got delayed. steve: did you have a chance to talk to your grandfather about the portrayal by gary cooper and what he thought of the film? col. york: we saw the film several times with him the cosi had a copy of it. he did not talk a lot about the movie. he was satisfied with the movie. there were a couple of parts in the movie that my grandmother had issues with, but my grandfather liked the movie.
he actually went out to hollywood and spent a couple weeks on the set when they were making it. he had some conditions when they first approached him about it, about what he wanted in the movie. first of all, he wanted it to be an accurate portrayal. he did not want it to be hollywoodized, what he called it. he also did not want a hollywood wife. playing his likented it to represent, already stated, he would have liked to have had it about his life after world war i. war,he came back from the he made several speeches to raise money for education in tennessee, and he found out that just talking about education, people wanted to hear about his experiences. so i think that had something to do with him finally agreeing to do the war portion of the movie,
because he realized that is what people wanted to see. steve: would you consider it a propaganda film? depends on your definition of propaganda. i don't really see it as a propaganda film. i know it has been portrayed as a propaganda film. for my grandfather, it was about patriotism. they actually sold him on several points. one was, as already mentioned, the country was very divided. half of the country wanted to get involved, half the country did not. isthey told him, look, this something that patriotism is. we need to pull the country together, and we think this story will help to do that. the other thing was he built a high school in tennessee, in jamestown, and had run it
himself for about 10 years. he mortgaged the farm a couple times to keep it going. he had a dream of something after high school and they told him, with your dream and trying to raise money, this film could give you revenue so you could actually build what you are looking at. and he used the money from that school build a bible that was religious-based, but it was a trade school to train high school students in trades. plumbers, electricians, etc. steve: john, do you have any idea how much this film generated in terms of revenue? john: it was an enormous hit. adjusted forgures, inflation, it is one of the top box office movies of all time. it was a huge hit. it was number one in box office for 1941, and that is after the
fact it was taken out of circulation for two months and did not play around the country until the following july, 1942. steve: we will talk about the timeline in a moment, but what is the sergeant york patriotic foundation? col. york: my grandfather had a foundation called the alvin york foundation. that is what he could -- that is what he used to build the high school. he ran it himself or 10 years, paid the teachers, and had the foundation up until his stroke in 1954. he was bedridden after that for 10 years. foundation that we did in the early 1990's, and we have recently taken possession. the state of tennessee has given us the deed to the original building my grandfather built, and we are in the process of
redoing that building, restoring it and trying to further his legacy and his dream of something after high school, and also a place where veterans and young people can come. it is called the sergeant york center for peace and valor. it is sergeantyork.org, you can find more information about it. of the goals, to set up the sergeant york center for peace and valor. we are working with the medal of honor society in d.c. we were hoping to partner with them to bring education to hopefully train the trainers, train the teachers, and get more awareness of what the medal of honor is about. stories aboute world war i, world war ii, and why be have the freedoms we have today. steve: let's go back as we
commemorate 100 years at the end of world war i. 101 years ago, april 1917, the u.s. enters world war i. when did your grandfather served? -- when did your grandfather served? ? john: he was drafted -- col. york: he was drafted and came in april 1917. he got to france in may of 1918. and was there until may of 1919. was though the armistice november 11, 1918, like i said, there were over 4 million men drafted, so they had a lot of men in europe, could not get them home. so he spent from november after the armistice until may in france traveling around, speaking. steve: which company, which division? thl. york: company g, 328
division. steve: why did he earn the medal of honor? we will see an excerpt of the film that sets up the attack, but what happened? col. york: they actually were attacking, and the germans had set up a kill zone. -- a kill zone. steve: where? col. york: in argonne forest. right north of the town is a hill, hill 223, the americans had taken that. they went down the hill across the open field to try to take out the german machine guns, relieve the lost battalion that and cut offrapped, the railroad supply that was beyond that. the germans knew the americans were coming, so they had set up pretty much a kill zone, where they had the mountains covered
with machine guns, and they could cover the valley with machine guns. when they initially attacked, it did not do any good. they were cut to pieces. grandfather'sd my totoon and three corporals take their squads and try to outflank the germans. they did. there was an artillery or -- there was an artillery barrage. it did happen as they were moving across the open area. the germans, as they hunkered down, my grandfather and these men were able to get behind german lines. a couple of red cross workers getting water. they gave chase to them, they ran back to their headquarters as my grandfather and the other men broke through the bush.
there were 70 that were captured immediately. as soon as they were captured, there were machine guns on the hill behind them. they saw what was going on, they turned their machine guns around an open fire. -- and opened fire. immediately, six of the men were killed, three were wounded. they were under fire. my grandfather was the only non-commissioned officer left, so he took charge, told the other men to guard the prisoners, and he then proceeded to try to take out the machine guns. steve: from the warner bros. film "sergeant york" starring gary cooper, here is an excerpt. [video clip] >> cleanout cap machine gun --
cleanout that machine gun. [explosions] [gunshots] keep your eye on it so they don't try anything rough. >> don't try anything funny. >> we have to get up there. >> we had better keep our eye on him. [gunshots] steve: john mulholland, as you look at that film and that scene, that moment, what is your take away? john: i am always impressed iwth it was how even though
meant to be in certain ways a call to alarm for americans to become involved in world war ii, for 1941, it is an extremely graphic depiction of war. and i find that very, very impressive that they chose to show the horror of war. and there is a sequence when he goes in, in which his sister says to his mother, what are they fighting for? and the mother says, i don't really know. i don't really know. i thought that was very honest as opposed to making it pure, rah-rah war, which only a full would be for -- which only a fool would be for. edlye: he single-hand killed german soldiers.
let's go back to the film. we talked about him being a pacifist. let's watch. [video clip] >> i have right that news for you. they are taking you for the army. >> that letter we sent to washington said i was against fighting. >> you have to report tomorrow night. >> i ain't going. >> you ain't got no choice. that was the last appeal. >> i don't care about that, i ain't going. >> you have to go, it is the law. >> what kind of losses the man has to go against -- a man has to go against the book and the teachings? >> if you do not go, they will be coming after you. >> they will not get me, i will come after the hills -- i will go into the hills. they had better not catch up with me.
>> sorry, pastor. wassn't thinking of what i saying. steve: again, gary cooper in the film "sergeant york." and gerald york, grandson of alvin york. one of the great ironies, a pacifist who went on to win the medal of honor. col. york: yes. she did not want to go. he was convinced by his company, his commander, and captain danford and major buxton at camp andon that he could go still be a christian and still go to war. it was something that really bothered him, and it bothered him.that he -- and it bothered him for the
rest of his life. hehe was ending his life, asked his father how he would be judged at the end of time for taking lives. his father said, you had no hatred in your heart. you did it -- in his words, you did it to save lives. you are not accountable for that. that is not murder, that is different. steve: how did someone from the foothills of tennessee become such an expert marksman? col. york: he depended on hunting for food. if you did not hunt or kill anything, you did not eat. so it was very important. he shot in shooting matches. he was one of the best shots, probably the best shot in the area. he had learned from his father and he learned from an early age. he was excellent even after he came back from the war. i have had folks there tell me stories about some of his shooting abilities after he got
back, with a pistol and a rifle. steve: there is a scene in the movie in which they are planning this attack. but did the officers realized the skills of your grandfather? col. york: they did. they put him in charge of training some of the other shoulder -- the other soldiers to shoot. they realized he was an expert marksman. that is one of the reasons he made corporal. steve: when he talked to you about this, did he give you any sense of his feelings after those shots were fired? col. york: he really did not talk to the family about what he had done. heard wase things i when my uncle and i used to set up with him in the hospital in nashville in the latter part of his life. ask himould come in and different questions, and being a teenager and curious, i would sit there and just listen and eavesdrop on their conversation.
but most of the stories i heard i heard with him telling other people. with the family, he did not talk what -- about what he had done. when we would watch the movie and ask, did you really do that? he would say, i was just doing my job, doing my duty. how was your day? what were you doing? he would always turn it around. even when people came to see him and talk to him, he would turn the conversation around to them and their needs and their issues. steve: let's go back to more from the film, and his skills as a marksman and why he decided to kill. sergeant york is played by gary cooper. [video clip] >> there is something i would like to know. the night you reported back to me, you told me you were quite prepared to die for your country, but not to kill. what made you decide to change your mind? >> well, sir --
>> since you would rather not tell me, that is all right. >> i am as much against killing as ever, sir. when i started out, i felt just like you said. but when i hear those machine guns going and the fellas dropping around me, i think those guns were killing hundreds, maybe thousands. there wasn't nothing anyone could do but stop those guns, and that is what i done. >> you tell me you did it to save lives? >> yes, sir. what you have just told me is the most extraordinary thing of all. york, as you see that film excerpt, what do you think? col. york: that was my grandfather. to save hishe did comrades. he saw his comrades being shot at. he knew they were pinned down, and he knew he had to do
something. that is the kind of man, the kind of character, that is what he was. steve: john mulholland, why is this film important to understand, and what do you think our audience should take away from it? john: it is important to understand that the period it was made, we were such a divided country. and this was an attempt to bring the people together to say, here rural areaom a very in america who faced his own conscience, looked in to what makes an american, what makes a patriotic american, what makes a human being, and the answer that was too, as it says in
the film, render onto cz -- onto caesar what is caesar's, and render unto god what is god's. if hollywood is ever thinking of making a movie today about what the liferica, america, of alvin york in the 1930's into the1940's is an example, man who had a third grade education was pushing for education in tennessee, understanding what education , who to the future harbored feelings because he had been not exposed to anti-semitism and that, and as he was opened up to a netherworld -- to another world, he became a much larger human being.
remarkable story, and i am fascinated that no one has picked up on what an extraordinary human being was alvin york. steve: we will watch that moment, the render unto caesar moment. but explain his fate, because this story has the war story, it is a love story, it is a story of personal struggle, and it is the story of one man's face. john: correct. yes, he believed in the bible. like i said, major buxton and captain danforth to their credit, they did not dismiss him as a conscientious objector. toy brought him in, talked him, explains why christians could fight, and they used bible scripture. one was in ezekiel. one of the other scriptures was give unto caesar that which is caesar's, and give unto god that which is god's. that commenced my grandfather that he had a duty not only to
god, but he had a duty to his country as well. wenthe came back, when he to war, he did not know if he could kill, but he was willing to die for his country, but did not know if you was willing to kill. the deciding point came when he saw his friends getting killed, his buddies getting killed, and he knew someone had to stop that, stop the killing. in his mind, how he rationalized, i can do this, is, i have to stop the carnage. i have to stop the killing. steve: here is the moment john mulholland was referring to from 1941 "sergeant york." >> here is another book. the history of the united states. the government of all men to defend the rights of man. >> remember the lord. >> the cost of heritage is high.
sometimes all we have to preserve it is our lives. defend your country. god. unto unto god. unto god. ♪ >> render therefore unto caesar the things which are caesar's, and unto god the things that are god's. --sar -- which are caesar's onto god -- god. steve: from the 1941 film. john mulholland, you mentioned that moment a short time ago. why is that a significant part of this movie? get: it was important to
again propaganda, to get the thatge across to americans it was necessary to understand ,hy it was important to fight why young men should be thinking seriously about enlisting. it was designed for that. steve: gerald york, is there anything in the film that is hollywoodized? col. york: there is one part that my grandmother -- like i said, my grandfather had a copy of the movie and we had seen it many times. i have seen it with my grandfather and my grandmother. my grandmother lived 20 years passed my grandfather, so i spent a lot of time with her. every time she saw the movie, there are a couple places in the
movie where she runs out to the field and gives him a kiss, and another one is she kissed him when she left. [video clip] >> alvin. ♪ col. york: and every time she saw the movie she would say, i don't know why they put that in. i am not sure what people are going to think about me, that i kissed him before we were married. i used to tell him, grandma, it is the 1960's or 1970's or 1980's. no one is going to think anything of it. she said, i think they will. i wish they had not put that in there. steve: did he have critics? col. york: he did have critics. , and he got some threatening letters at times, and there are some that questioned whether or not he did what he did, whether it was
someone else who did what he did. i think one of the great works that was written to prove or asprove was by a kernel -- by colonel. he went into the german archives as well as the american archives to come up with the true version of what had actually happened. steve: john mulholland, how often did filmmakers reach out to alvin york before they actually saw the production of this movie? john: frequently. as early as 1919. jesse lasky, who was watching the parade in honor of alvin york in new york city, approached him while york state in new york for a while. and he asked him what he consider a film based on his war?its in the
and your turn to him -- and york turned him down. in 1929, he war? and approached york again. he was turned down again. york, andy approached .ork turned him down again it was not until 1940 when jesse lasky came to tennessee that york began to waver somewhat in agreeing to do a film. steve: and he turned him down, which became a famous line referring to his service and military uniform, did you not? -- did he not? .ohn: yes he did not want to trade in having to kill, to take other lives, and he resented that apparently up until the day he died. he wondered, was it right? madea name, had a film
based on what in effect was that he had to kill. steve: colonel york, you just mentioned a moment ago his return. there was a time period between the end of world war i, six months traveling through europe. he comes back to new york under watch -- which circumstances and to what reaction? col. york: he came back to new york. he did not realize it, but in february 1919, he had received the distinguished service cross for his service. he did not realizehe went back , and it was upgraded to the medal of honor. there was a "saturday evening post" reporter that wrote a story and accompanied them and the 82nd. he published a story in early 1919 about my grandfather and
the battle and all that happened. my grandfather did not know this. so when he returned to new york on the ship, there was a huge crowd waiting to meet him. he was hanging on the ship, and one of the individuals asked him, aren't you going to get off the ship? he said, i was waiting for the crowd to die down. they said, the crowd is here to see you. and he did not know why. he did not realize that people knew who he was or what he had done. steve: and yet, he was happy to go back to his home state of tennessee, correct? col. york: correct. when he was drafted, he was making $.50 to $.75 a day. when he came back to new york, the offers -- not only the movie ,ffers, but products amounted to $250,000. which is a lot of money for someone making $.50 a day. he turned them all down, as was
said. i did what iwas, had to do. the uniform is not for sale. i am not going to capitalize on what happened. i am not proud on having to take lives, but it is something i had to do. so he just wanted to go home. he wanted to go home to tennessee. steve: yet through his adult life, he did face financial difficulties. col. york: he did. there were two or three books written about him. he got royalties from the books, which he put back into the school. the movie,yalty from which he put back in to building the bible school. and he never was a rich man. he took care of people in the community, he used his money for education, for better roads, and ended up -- he had a farm that was given to him.
and that is pretty much what he had when he passed away. but he had some difficulties with the irs. the irs came back and said, you owe us money from the movie. theme went back and showed where he had written checks, and they said, you owe us more. and they did not come in until later in his life, and they said the interest, you owe this $15,000, $20,000, but with interest, it is now more. someone in congress got a group together to raise money. they got with the irs, and the irs settled for $25,000. but when my grandfather had gone to the hospital once the irs had -- to telll migrant my grandmother, if your husband passes away, do not do anything because we will take the farm
because he owes back taxes. steve: but he did have support here in washington and elsewhere. col. york: he had fantastic support from all across the country. people sent money in. actually, more money than was needed to pay. heat set up a trust fund to fund education for children who could not afford to go to school with the money that was left over from paying the irs off. steve: and did your grandfather have many conversations with gary cooper after the film was released? col. york: he did have some conversations with gary cooper. we actually have a couple terra -- a couple telegrams that we found. in fact, i was with gary cooper's daughter in new york showing the "sergeant york" movie on the avenue named after my grandfather. steve: where is that your -- where's that located? col. york: upper manhattan on the east side.
we are going back up november 16. they are having a special ceremony at the armory. steve: john mulholland, the key figure behind this film, harry warner, explain who he was. john: he was one of the founders of warner bros. with his brother jack. harry warner was a fascinating principlese he placed over profits. and in 1934, for example, warner bros. became the first studio to stop exporting films to germany. because of fascism and adolf hitler. they lost considerable money. no other studio did that until 1940. of judaism.roud he said during the hearings in
1941, i am a june and i am an american. i am proud to be a jew, and i am proud to be an american. he is one who helped convince alvin york to agree to do this film. york had not met that many jewish people, and he grew very fond of harry warner. found that they had an awful lot in common. they were both very religious, used religion to live by, to guide their lives, and harry warner was just an interesting man. completely different from his brother, jack warner. steve: this is an excerpt of a documentary you produced. let's watch and get your reaction. [video clip] >> events beyond hollywood were intruding.
alvin york was giving talks around the country, publicly pushing for america to intervene against germany. he had become a lightning rod. but the resulting victory was shameful indeed. >> lots of americans were pro-nazi. there were more than 100 pro-nazi organizations in the united states. thoughtwrote saying he -- he thought he lost his mind. another person said it was a pity he came back from the war alive. role inargue that his world war ii is more important than what he did in world war i. he stood up at a time it was not popular to say we are against the nazis. steve: your message in that documentary, what is it? it takes courage to stand up for what you believe, and how alvin york was willing to do that on the battlefield and in public life. it was just shameful, the response from so many people
inn york was speaking out favor of america becoming involved in world war ii. extraordinarily courageous man, especially in that period. steve: when the film came out, colonel york, in 1941, did that change your grandfather? what was his life like that before his stroke in the 1950's? col. york: he had a lot more speaking engagements. one time he went to all 48 states. it catapulted him. [video clip] a gold star in the world war. this honor not for myself, but for all of my brothers who were in the world war. i thank you. col. york: -- steve: he had a
theof speaking tours in 1920's and 1930's. after the film was released, he met the president. president roosevelt. he and my grandfather -- and my grandmother in one of his sons went to the white house and met the president. steve: as you look back on the , they came home and did not want to talk about it. col. york: correct. i have found that most of the people who really did courageous acts do not want to talk about it. the people who talk the most a lot of times have not done much. there was a recent lieutenant awardeea medal of honor out of kentucky, a friend of my grandfather's. they used to get together, and his family said the same thing,
that he never talked about what he did in the world war. steve: his final 10 years, what were they like? col. york: he was bedridden, but he took it in stride. he had hundreds and hundreds of visitors during that time. people would stop and knock on the door, my grandmother would invite them in. many visitors came in. i cannot tell you how many people would come to see him, both at home and in the hospital that would leave and turn to you came to cheer your grandfather up, but actually he has cheered me up. he stayed up on current events. he watched the news programs and stayed up. and when people came, he wanted to talk to them about what was going on with america, what was going on in the united states.
steve: you were 17 years old when he passed away. if you could ask him one question today, what would it be? col. york: i would probably ask him more about the exploits of france. steve: have you been there? col. york: i have. i have been there three times this year for the 100th anniversary. the french village where the action occurred actually has a memorial to my grandfather in front of city hall. they have a trail that goes up to the site where the battle occurred, and the people there are wonderful. like ias over there, said, i have been three times.the last time was three weeks ago on the 100th anniversary of his action, and we actually walked the battle area 100 years at the same time, the same day, 100 years later. it was amazing. steve: john mulholland, final question. what is the lasting impact of sergeant york, this film, and his legacy? example of what
someone has to go through mentally, emotionally, intellectually to face the truth. himselfrk looked inside and arrived at a decision, and followed that decision to its end, either in war or in peace. and in his movement to encourage america to become involved in four to -- involved in world war ii. steve: the documentary is entitled sergeant york: of god and country. john mulholland was joining us. here in washington, retired -- retired colonel york. the grandson of alvin york.
to both of you, thank you for being with us here on c-span3, american history tv. col. york: thank you. announcer: at the 11th hour on the 11th day in the 11th month, the armistice to end the great war was signed. this weekend, we are faced -- featuring program to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of world war i. watch this weekend on american history tv on c-span3. 11 1921,: on november an estimated 100,000 people gathered at arlington cemetery in virginia for a ceremony honoring the unknown soldier of world war i. the u.s. army corps created a silent film documenting the journey of the soldier's remains to the capitol rotunda, and its procession through the streets of washington dc. concept ofthis whole the unknown soldier being honored come about? beginning back to the
during world war i. there are more unidentifiable remains. people really were struggling with the fact that they could not figure out who many of these casualties were. so great britain and france in 1920 buried an unknown soldier in each of their countries. in france, it was under the atrium in paris. the u.s. decided to do something similar to that. the idea was started by hamilton fish v of new york, who submitted legislation to bury the unknown soldier from the u.s.. i believe they are in france right now. >> i have walked to the streets before, and it is interesting to see how many people turned out. not just the army as we can see. but french civilians showing their honor and patriotism toward the americas, and really supporting the role americans played in helping liberate france. >> now we see the casket being carried on board an american ship. >> it is a naval ship, the uss olympic, famous during the spanish-american war. it was the flagship that captured manila in 19 -- 1888. it has a storied history. >> there, we actually see the navy yard in washington dc. , therehe capitol rotunda is a platform that was used to put president lincoln's coffin. >> that is war and mrs. harding laying the ribbon. >> that is correct. they are representing the united states and all civilians.
he will give the keynote speech. >> here it is being carried down the steps of the capitol. that is a scene modern americans will be familiar with, and put thate horse drawn cart will take it through the streets of washington and over to arlington cemetery. let's watch for just a minute. >> there is a really interesting, diverse group of people who participated in the trade. there were military groups. they formed a prominent part of
those participating, but you had a lot of veterans, female veterans as well, women who served or volunteer during the war. >> there is the reviewing stand in downtown washington. >> i believe those women are from the army corps. it is hard to tell. but as you can see, we have the representation. some of the uniforms look very similar until you can see the insignia. >> we are standing in a german cemetery in the middle of the argonne forest. this is one of the 29 german cemeteries in the military department. >> how do they differ from the american cemetery or the