STERLING HEROES OF WORLD WAR II
STERLING HEROES is a unique collection of first-person accounts of World War II service.
Thirty-six men from Sterling and surrounding Logan County in rural northeastern Colorado shared their very personal experiences in video-recorded interviews conducted by Dr. John Elliff, a Sterling ophthalmologist now retired, beginning in 2000. Dr. Elliff’s project spanned more than 10 years.
Dr. Elliff engaged veteran journalist and author Denny Dressman to edit transcripts of the interviews and produce a remarkable history of the period that touched the lives of all Americans.
The collection of veterans—all from “the land of the endless horizon,” as Dressman describes Sterling and Logan County—represent a remarkable microcosm of America during the war years of the early 1940s.
Some were in the Army, some in the Navy; others flew for the Air Corps, and some were Marines. They served in the European Theater, all across the Pacific, and even in the Aleutians. Some landed on Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, or took part in the bloody invasion of Okinawa.
Some became prisoners of war—enduring deplorable conditions; one survived Pearl Harbor aboard the battleship Tennessee, anchored just in front of the USS Arizona, which took a direct hit and sank, killing 1,177 helpless sailors.
One man was a code-breaker; another was in the first unit to liberate the Dachau concentration camp; still another transmitted half of President Roosevelt’s last message to Japanese Emperor Hirohito just before the Pearl Harbor attack.
One was a bonafide Flying Ace. Another discovered that a physician who treated his sinus infection in Sterling—30 years later—provided the life-saving emergency treatment he received in a field hospital in Holland in 1944. Still another came to America as Italian soldier captured in North Africa, and became a U.S. citizen and 65-year resident of northeastern Colorado.
Poignant. Harrowing. Humorous. Remarkable. Each Sterling Hero’s story is unique, yet altogether they are representative of America’s wartime service experience from small towns to big cities, coast-to-coast.
STERLING HEROES chronicles a period in America’s history that citizens of all ages today need to know and appreciate.