American History in Real LifeMovies in the past have often shown characters that were touched by historical events. Yet sometimes, the truth is often more fantastic than anything Hollywood can devise. These stories of real people show how the events of the past touched their lives. Some times the stories are dramatic, sometimes simple, but all in all they weave a tapesty of the richness of the American experience.
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© John Norvell
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Category Archives: Military history
For the past months, I have been going through all the letters I wrote to my wife from SEA. 16 June 1973: just when I was getting somewhat settled into my combat routine – we lost one. An F-4 took … Continue reading
Lest we forget: F-4 Phantom II—445 total lost in the SEA Air War, 382 in combat more than any other fixed wing aircraft First combat loss F-4C 64-0685 (45th TFS, 15th TFW) shot down Ta Chan, NW NVN on 20 June 1965. Final … Continue reading
Popular music has often served as a useful mirror of our perception of veterans since the founding of the republic. The Civil War resonated with songs that were meant to support the war effort and the Union. As the success … Continue reading
Stevens Thompson Norvell (1835 -1911) enlisted in the army on January 23, 1858 as a private in Company A 5th U.S. Infantry. One of his first assignments was as an infantryman in the West; later he would fight with Teddy … Continue reading
In 1834, my great-great grandfather John Norvell found himself embroiled in a controversy that involved Michigan with her neighbors. Ohio and Michigan had long claimed a disputed section of land which included the Toledo area. The dispute over this area … Continue reading
I’ve noticed in recent years, I often refer to the time that I was in the Air Force as when “we were in the Air Force.” This is not surprising as being an officer, 50 years ago, meant that your … Continue reading
Some families have names that seem to be handed down from one generation to the next , such was Stevens Thompson Norvell. Stevens rather than Steven or Stephen might seem to be an odd first name; well there is a … Continue reading
As the British marched on Washington during the War of 1812, John Norvell and his brother-in-law Spencer Cone joined the fight to defend the nation’s Capital. At the time, Norvell, who with the outbreak of the War of 1812 had enlisted … Continue reading
Yellow fever was a major killer in the 19th Century. It was often called the American plague. New Englander Cotton Mather described it as “turning yellow then vomiting and bleeding every way.” It was spread by a species of the … Continue reading