« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 57: But Who's Counting

2017-05-23 | 🔗

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night could keep this 60 year-old mailman from finally receiving his due.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Because the way I heard it is now a book of the same name and because that book is now a New York Times best seller. He said with great modesty I am using the incredibly valuable space in front of the store you're about to here to invite you to pick up a copy for yourself now. It is tempting to point to the many hundreds of five star reviews that the way I heard it has so far received, but that fails to self congratulatory. So, let's just say, let's just say that the way I heard it makes a heck of a Christmas present, which you can order right now at micro, dotcom, Slash book that Micro Dotcom, Slash book. Honestly, if you like the podcast, you're gonna, love the book and if you like, an autograph copy for Christmas, perhaps we still have a few of those left at micro, dot com, slash book. Having said that, that's the way I heard-
bill. Colony was a male man in New Bedford Massachusetts. He had worn the uniform for thirty one years and took his job seriously snow nor rain. Nor heat nor gloom of night could keep William Carney from the swift completion of his appointed rounds. One day in may just before lunch bill walked out to his own mailbox and found something from the WAR department bill stared at the envelope for a minute or so the way you do sometimes when you're, enjoying a mystery or perhaps. Dreading revelation what in the world the war department want with a sixty year old male man was he being drafted, probably not eat already done. His I'm thirty seven years ago, actually thirty six years, ten months and two days, but whose counting
When Bill finally open the envelope and peered inside, he found a certificate of some kind which slowly removed his name was at the top and large block letters with a number of official looking signatures scribbled across the bottom. There was something else as well: a coin it slipped out of the envelope and clattered onto his kitchen table. It wasn't a coin, though it was a trinket of some kind. He did know what it was built turned his attend and back to the certificate and read the two sentences that appeared directly under his name when they, other sergeant was shot down. This soldier grasped the flag led the way to the parapet and planted the colors thereon when the troops fell back, he brought off the flag under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded and just like that bill. Carney was no longer sitting in this
and he was back on that God forsaken Beach charging headlong into a meat grinder. He could still smell the salt in the air. He could still hear the screams of his friends as they collapsed into the blood soaked sand. But my sleep. He could still see the color sergeant shot dead in his tracks, not two feet in front of him and the flag, their precious flag as it fell toward the earth,
blinked away, tear ass, he thought of his loss companions and lingered for a moment on the defining day of his life, summed up here in just two sentences: funny how a few words on a piece of parchment can take you back thirty, seven years, actually thirty six years ten months in two days, but whose counting bill re read the sentences and as he did, he watched himself thro his rifle aside and catch the flag before it hit the ground. He watched his colonel, take three bullets in the just seconds after urging his men to follow him up the rampart. He flinched, as he recalled the impact of that first bullet slamming into aside the one he still carried to this day. He flinched again as next one tore through his shoulder, but only went charging up that endless embankment stepping over his dead colonel and his mangled friends
as the enemy continued to shred their ranks with volley after volley of withering fire. Until there was no one left standing, no one but him, and then there he was sergeant William Carney alone on the rampart, armed with nothing, but the american flag and staring into the stunned faces of a hundred enemy soldiers. Who were no doubt wondering how many times they needed to shoot the Son of a bitch before he Dew fell down and died the enemy never found out bill quickly considered the inherent risk of lingering twenty yards in front of an outraged, foe waving a flag. They despised build, turned and ran back down the rampart, clutching the flag to his chest. Leaping oh are the bodies of his fallen comrades zagging in zagging through the surf bill, ran for his life as the bullets buzzed all around him like a swarm of angry mosquitoes. One
bit him in the leg another in the back and one in the head, but bill wouldn't fuck. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor five bullets shot into his stubborn body could keep the future post man from the swift completion of his appointed rounds. He made it all the way back to regimental headquarters and told the dumbstruck survivors before collapsing. I only did my duty boys, the old flag, never touched the ground, it's important recognize valor, especially when its uncommon and bill appreciated the citation delivered to his home that afternoon in May. In fact, he wrote a thank you letter to the ward apartment and mailed it off later that same week
can see it online. If your interested or if you prefer, you can see the film that paid tribute to the men of bills unit glory. One six oscars in nineteen, eighty nine and told the true story about the men of the fifty Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, one of the first black units in the U S, armed forces, Glory really was a hell of a movie Matthew, Roderick, Morgan, Freeman, Andre Brower and, of course, Denzil Washington, whose character bravely picks up the flag when the color sergeant is shot dead, not two feet in front of him and carries it up the rampart of Fort Wagner on that God, forsaken Beach in South Carolina, just as William Carney did in real life, just one minor problem attends L, Washington played it
character. Called private trip who wines up dying in the movie at a careful examination of the movies credits, reveals that the character of sergeant William Carney was portrayed by no one. Would bill have been surprised to learn that Hollywood had cut him out of an Oscar winning film? Would he have been offended? Probably not truth is, bill was used to being overlooked and, besides back on July 11th, one thousand eight hundred and sixty three he wasn't fighting for fame. He was fighting for freedom. That was the only recognition he craved, and that is why the sixty year old male man from New Bedford was somewhat bemused by the contents of that envelope arrived back on, May nine of nineteen hundred an envelope containing a certain
forget and a shiny trinket that looked like a coin, but wasn't today that trinket would have been placed around bill carnies neck, but president of the United States, and a solemn ceremony at the White House back in May of nineteen hundred the first black man to earn the congressional medal of honor. Received his in the mail. Eighty nine years before Polly would deny, Eyed him glory and thirty seven years after he earned it actually thirty six years, ten months and two days, but really whose counting anyway, that's wired.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-31.