continued from page easy, so ….
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easy, so a meeting of the two former hurdlers was arranged. The two men, born about three months apart in February 1914 had much to reminisce about. Their recollections about SEC hurdles competition and World War II were engaging and stimulating.
Smith started covering the war before the first shots were fired which afforded him an opportunity to interview the Nazi brass at Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s retreat in the Bavarian Alps, which included Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader; Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister and Hitler, himself. Spec came home from the Olympics only to return as an officer and eventually was in command of a Prisoner-of-War camp.
Three of his prisoners became good friends, and I was able to meet all three of them — one in Amsterdam, one in Mainz, Germany (near Frankfurt) and the other, who moved to Australia, but came to Athens for a reunion with Spec.
After breakfast at my house, we were walking down the sidewalk to the car and Spec dropped back to whisper to me, “Don’t make me out to look like a softie. They are still a bunch of (unprintable) Germans.” He never forgave the Nazi’s for killing his younger brother, Preston, at Bastogne.
This trip down memory lane, makes me lament that there was not so much universal hostility among Americans back then. It also makes me wonder why we lost the broadcast institute where the icons of the industry rubbed shoulders with students with addresses such as Portal, Hahira, Suches and Moreland.
And this parting shot regarding our nightly news. Never has there been a time more of essence than today when we desperately need to “…beat our swords in the ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks.”
If we were to pull that off, perhaps, we would enjoy only good news.