When poet Edward Field and I visited Washington, D.C. earlier this year to honor Jack Coleman Cook, Edward had the opportunity to sit for a Veterans History Project interview at the Library of Congress. Edward’s friend David Perrotta arranged for fellow Library of Congress staffer Owen Rogers to conduct and record the interview. My husband Bill and I were invited to sit in to watch the proceedings.
Ever so quietly with cell phones muted and seated comfortably out of camera range, we witnessed Edward recount his remarkable story of growing up in pre-WWII America as a gay Jewish man, his wartime service in the Army Air Forces, his post-war return to civilian life, and his journey to become a poet.
Owen Rogers was kind enough to share the recording with me and I was honored to have the opportunity to edit and present Edward Field’s Veterans History Project interview on YouTube.
Edward’s story is eye-opening. It shows us a time in America for which we can only feel shame for the actions of our forebearers upon a young man growing up in a neighborhood in which others felt his family didn’t belong. We see what it meant to be gay and Jewish in a long ago time that seems both so unlike our own time, yet so familiar, too. It is, at times, an emotional story. It is a story told through the heart of a poet.
Aside from being an award-winning poet, Edward Field is a WWII veteran who served as a navigator aboard a B-17 heavy bomber in the 546th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force.
Edward’s Veterans History Project interview was conducted and recorded by Owen E. Rogers, Library of Congress Liaison Specialist, at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., April 11, 2018.
Video photos courtesy of Edward Field, David Perrotta, Ryan Saylor, Delia Cook McBride, Ray Lustig and Susan Taylor.
Video editor Cindy Farrar Bryan of TheArrowheadClub.com.
Many thanks to Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman for honoring Jack Coleman Cook on the Floor of the House of Representatives April 12, 2018.
Links to information and previous The Arrowhead Club posts about Jack Coleman Cook and Edward Field
- Missing in Action, 1945
- Edward Field
- Jack Coleman Cook
- Jack Coleman Cook – Part 2
- An Honor for Jack Coleman Cook in the Congressional Record
- Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Honors Jack Coleman Cook
- Congress Honors Jack Coleman Cook
- February 3, 1945 Mission to Berlin
- Video of poet Edward Field reading World War II
- World War II by Edward Field in print
- Delia’s interview on KARK
- Delia’s interview on Fox 16
- A Hero’s Hero
- The Boy Who Took My Place in the Water
- The Cook Family Scrapbook Holds the Answers
- Jack Coleman Cook’s personnel record with the 384th Bomb Group
- Edward Field’s personnel record with the 384th Bomb Group
- Robert Long crew photo album in the 384th Bomb Group Photo Gallery
Next week I will present “Cataract Op,” the unpublished WWII-related poem by Edward Field which he mentions in his Veterans History Project interview.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018