Odd Destiny of Sergeant York

Episode 1 of 1

In early 1917, Germany created havoc in the English Channel by sinking all commercial vessels. Their goal was to bring down the UK economy. The German navy sunk an American merchant ship bringing America into the war on April 6, 1917. America joined with France, Great Britain and Russia as the Allies against Germany. Alvin York and Native American Joseph Oklahombi were among the thousands of Americans, leaving behind their families and homes, sent to France to join this struggle. How did a farmer from Pall Mall, Tennessee become the greatest American hero of the First World War? Convinced by his pastor to enlist, Alvin York ended up fighting in the Argonne and received the highest awards, including the Medal of Honor and Croix de Guerre, for his capture of 132 German soldiers. One the same day, not far from the Argonne, the infantryman Joseph Oklahombi performed an exceptional feat of arms by taking 171 German soldiers as prisoners. Since he was an Indian from the Choctaw tribe in Oklahoma - who were not recognized as American citizens at that time but invited to enlist all the same - he never received the Medal of Honor. Without ever meeting, these two men became symbols of the courage that young American volunteers showed in WWI. A hundred years later, both men deserve a spotlight in our collective memory. In 1941, as America prepared for World War II, actor Gary Cooper depicted Sergeant York in the movie and was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor. Alvin York passed away in 1964.

Previously Aired

2 p.m.
1 p.m.
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