From the files of this venerable broadcaster-some startling revelations about history's heroes
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"Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story"
The Little Red Wagon
He was born to wealthy parents who hoped for a distinguished career for their son. Perhaps that's why his dad was so disturbed by the boy's interest at age 13 in dangerous explosives. What would he be when he grew up? A safecracker?
The teen-ager protested that his firecrackers and skyrockets were marvelous sources of energy that could be tapped constructively.
One day the boy obtained six skyrockets from a friend and tried to figure out how to put them to use. Idly, he looked out over the front lawn at a little red wagon. Then it hit him. If just one of those
"PAUL HARVEY'S THE REST OF THE STORY," BY PAUL AURANDT,
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rockets could lift itself high into the sky, maybe several of them could turn that wagon into a projectile!
Quickly he tied two rockets to each side of his wagon. His heart pounding in anticipation, he lit the fuses and jumped clear. Then, with a blast, the rockets ignited and surged the wagon down the street at an amazing speed!
Elated, the boy bolted down the street after it. The rockets finally
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burned out, five blocks away, with a magnificent explosion. Neighbors ran from their houses and saw a breathless, exuberant boy, dancing about the charred chassis of a childhood toy. Then the police arrived.
"It worked, it worked!" was all the youth could say. And then the ecstatic youngster was taken into custody.
After his father arrived to take him home, the child was severely reprimanded. But he never got over the excitement, and eventually he grew to distinguish himself as few others ever have in the field of rocket technology.
The boy whose toys ceased to be toys went on to achieve his doctorate at 22. So respected was he that his country called on him to head its rocket research.
But his country wasn't ours. At 24 he was making rockets for Hitler—the V-2s that lashed London. Then when the Allies were closing in and surrender was either to the Russians or the Americans, he came to work for us. Without him, the United States might never have gained the lead in space. Without him, there might have been no Saturn V that carried men to the moon.
And all because a little boy in a German suburb thought he could make his wagon "fly." In a way, it reached the stars.
As you may know by now, his name was Wernher von Braun.
Paul Aurandt, Paul Harvey's son, is the writer for his father's series "The Rest of the Story." 18
Once there was a speech therapist, a teacher whose compassion for the deaf was so great that he spent every spare moment experimenting with ways to help them learn to speak. These experiments eventually led the young man to investigate the electrical transmission of sound and to invent a revolutionary apparatus that came to be known as the telephone. That teacher was, of course, Alexander Graham Bell.
But you just thin\ you know THE REST OF THE STORY . . .
If it's true that behind every great man is a woman, then it was doubly true of Alexander Graham Bell. Two women greatly inspired him: his mother and his wife. Bell's mother, Eliza, helped direct his childhood attention to the study of speech. Whenever Alec set about on his enterprises and hobbies, the original "Ma Bell" was always there to encourage him.
Enter Mabel Hubbard, the second belle in Bell's life—his wife. Alec met Mabel in Boston. Their story weaves the romantic tapestry of a 19th-century novel.
She, youthful, lovely, rich.
He, brilliant, ardent, poor.
Together they encountered the
traditional obstacles of initial parental objection to the marriage and public ridicule of his genius. And yes, they eventually succeeded. Mabel, like Alec's mother, inspired Bell through love and devotion— and perhaps, through something else.
Alexander Bell's occupation, first and foremost, was his work with those who could not hear. Isn't it ironic, then, that his beloved students could never benefit from his most celebrated invention, the telephone? It is even more ironic when you consider that the two women who gave him inspiration could never fully appreciate it either.
For they also—his mother and his wife—were deaf.
The Man Who Loved Sea Gulls
About sunset, on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast, you could often see an old man walking, his hand gripping a bucket filled with fish.
Soon the sky would become a mass of dancing dots growing larger— as great numbers of sea gulls came to meet the old man. He would stand on the beach, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail was empty. But the gulls would linger. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man's hat, and a certain day
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gone by would gently come to mind. Eventually, all of the old man's days were past. If the gulls still return to that spot, it is not for food but to pay homage to the secret of a gentle stranger.
Anyone who remembers October 1942 may remember the day that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was reported lost at sea. His mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur, then headquartered in New Guinea. But somewhere over the South Pacific, Rickenbacker and his men had to ditch their B-17 Flying Fortress in the ocean.
For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his seven companions drifted in their three rafts, fighting the
water, the weather and the scorching sun, recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts.
But starvation proved to be their most formidable enemy: it would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.
In Captain Eddie's own words: "That afternoon we finished the service with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. Talk tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down to keep out the glare, I dozed off. Then something landed on my head. I knew that it was a sea gull. Peering out from under my hat brim without moving, I could see everyone staring at that gull. It meant food— if I could catch it."
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its
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flesh was eaten, and its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.
You know that Captain Eddie made it.
And now you also know that he never forgot. Because many an evening, at about sunset, on a lonely stretch of Florida seacoast, you could see an old man walking, slightly bent, his bucket filled with food for the gulls.
An Anthem for the Enemy
War songs. Anthropologists theorize that they were among the first music to be sung. The words to many war anthems are based on sound psychological principles. What is more encouraging than the brave deeds of forefathers or a victory predicted in music?
It was so in the American Revolution.
You know the songs we sang. But now you're going to hear about a rhyme that British soldiers sang during the French and Indian War, two decades before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And they later used it to undercut the courage of the colonists throughout the Revolution, sometimes posting troops to sing it outside a church during services. It was meant to taunt us, to make us afraid.
Then a curious thing happened. We stole this melody, words and all, from the voices of our enemies and threw it right back at them. The enemy anthem became a favorite in every American camp. It was heard in battle, in defeat, in victory.
This song was intended to needle our troops—until with incomparable American mischief we turned the needle around and they got the point.
The Redcoat rhyme that we made our own forevermore was "Yankee Doodle"!
JVyi neighbor was painting a tilt-in window when the latch gave way and the glass broke on his head. His cuts were minor but the bleeding was profuse.
The paramedics arrived with screaming sirens and were followed by two squad cars and an ambulance. After they bandaged the victim's head, it was decided that he should go with them to the hospital for stitches.
As the blood-spattered painter was being led from his house, his wife saw a crowd of onlookers gathered across the street. Never at a loss for words, she called loudly to her husband, "Next time you'll eat what I
COok." —Contributed by Cheri Best