Here’s a Veterans’ Day question. What do the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War I and the most decorated U.S. soldier in World War II have in common?
One answer appears to be warrior genes.
According to the recorded history mapped out and networked in the Family Forest®, and summarized in this computer-generated Family Forest® relationship chart, both Sergeant Alvin York and Audie Murphy are descended from Sir Henry “Hotspur” Percy.
According to his Wikipedia profile, Sir Henry Percy “early acquired a great reputation as a warrior.”
Who would have been more surprised? Would it have been Sir Henry Percy to learn that two of his descendants each also acquired a great reputation as a warrior? Or would it have been Sergeant York and Audie Murphy to discover they both shared the same famous warrior ancestor?
We recently learned of the U.S.S. Spangler reunion which will be starting on Monday October 25, 2010 in San Antonio, TX.
Prompted by a great visit from Kristine’s cousin Jeannie, both nieces of the Purple Heart recipient the ship was named for, we began reading through a large stack of Uncle Donald’s letters and clippings that were still in the possession of his only living sibling and my outstanding father-in-law, nonagenarian Robert Kent Spangler.
Amid the sorrow of losing so much promise so early, what fun it was! New discoveries led to other new discoveries.
For instance, we found a letter written on the Fourth of July 1943 to Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler (Donald’s mother, Mrs. Spangler christened the U.S.S. Spangler).
It was from Miss Velma V. Vogelman of Baltimore, MD who knew Donald from his Naval Academy days. She had just learned of his death through LIFE magazine, and she was writing on the anniversary of a significant day.
“On July 4, 1940 he came to Baltimore and spent the day with me and my parents. This day I shall always remember as one of the happiest in my life. He spoke often of his home and parents and how he would have enjoyed spending that particular day with you in Albion, Ind.”
We had never heard of a mention of Uncle Donald in LIFE. So we used Google Books and quickly found it in print in the July 5, 1943 issue on page 21.
We’re looking forward to following up on other discoveries from the letters and clippings. What other interesting insights to history are waiting to be found?
Filed under Ancestors, Ancestral History, Cousins, Family Forest National Treasure, Family Forest® Project, Fourth of July, Genealogy, history, Independence Day, Reunion, Uncategorized, USS Spangler, Veterans Day, Women's History Month, World War II
Here are some links to new Ancestors-at-a-glance™ charts for Veterans Day 2009. A few were warriors, and the others served or are serving our country in other ways that support American armed forces service people.
Thomas Jefferson was the main author of the famous document that started it all, the Declaration of Independence.
Francis Scott Key in the aftermath of a pivotal battle in our nation’s history, gave us the most well-known inspirational song of our nation, The Star-Spangled Banner.
General Douglas MacArthur and General George S. Patton are probably the two most famous warriors of World War II, and they have both been immortalized in Hollywood films.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt steered our nation through World War II and made the tough decisions that impacted all of our lives.
Kristine’s Uncle Donald was killed in action early in World War II and the USS Spangler was named in his honor.
Senator John McCain has not only served our country as a warrior and endured the unimaginable horrors of being a POW, he has been a leading spokesman for our nation’s veterans from a number of wars.
After “Saving Private Ryan,” famous Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks has also become a prominent figure head for World War II and veterans. He has been involved with the new National World War II Museum which just opened this month in New Orleans.
The Family Forest® National Treasure Edition honors many of our nation’s veterans by passing along their heritage digitally to future generations in a way I feel certain would make them proud.
Veterans Day 2009 Poster
Ken Burns is a master at utilizing A People-Centered Approach to History® to stimulate people to do good, which is the goal we are also striving to attain with the Family Forest® Project.
After watching his excellent program on PBS called The War , Kristine was motivated to do further research about her Uncle Donald.
Like many other young men and women in The War, Lieutenant Donald Hays Spangler was one of those who went off to serve his country, and never returned.
Kristine’s Uncle Donald, one of her father’s two brothers, was appointed midshipman at the US Naval Academy on July 8, 1938. After but a very brief naval career, he was killed in action on the USS Atlanta off Savo Island at Iron Bottom Sound, Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands on November 13, 1942.
His memory was perpetuated when the USS Spangler (DE-696) was named for him, and Kristine’s paternal grandmother, Myrtle Elizabeth (Blue) Spangler, was the person who christened the ship when it was launched.
Lieutenant Donald Hays Spangler’s memory now lives on in several other places on the Internet, as the niece he never knew has discovered, and is hereby passing on to her nieces, nephews, and cousins in this Veterans Day tribute.