WSIU InFocus (Episode #812)
Thursday, May 23 at 9:30pm
Repeats: On WSIU HD -- 5/26 at 11:30am, 5/31 at 5pm
Repeats: On WSIU World -- 5/25 at 4pm, 5/26 at 9pm, 5/27 at 8pm
David Oliver, a 2006 graduate of SIU's Department of Aviation Management and Flight, is the crew commander for the Commemorative Air Force's Boeing B-29 now known as FIFI. Oliver piloted the big four-engine bomber to his alma mater during the summer of 2012 where hundreds of area residents turned out to touch a piece of our nation's rich aviation heritage. Dozens of area veterans toured the airplane, including the late Jean Lit of Murphysboro who was photographed in front of the B-29 Enola Gay following its return from the first combat use of the atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. We also meet Everett Atkinson of Bluford who served as a B-29 crew commander at the end of WWII and Charles Ketring of Carbondale who flew a photo-reconnaissance version of the bomber during the Korean War.
Athens, Illinois resident Monique Gaston describes her life as a teenager in Marseille, France during the Nazi occupation of her country in the Second World War. Her family lived in constant fear that her older brother, Michel Gries, could be captured and killed because of his role as a saboteur in the French Resistance. Equally terrifying was the fact that her family could suffer the same fate for hiding her brother and his colleagues at their home between their sabotage missions. Her family survived the war and her brother was awarded the Legion of Honor by France for his daring exploits against the Nazis.