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: Washington DC
Fifty years ago three major developments competed for the attention of America: The Race to the Moon, the so called “Flower Power” movement, and the Vietnam War. In that long ago summer of 1969, two would play out on the … Continue reading
Like many Americans in 1968, the most newsworthy events played out each day on my television. Whether it was the Vietnam war, the protests, or the presidential election, each night my TV linked me to the wider world. On … Continue reading
50 years ago, I heard Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., give his last public Sunday sermon at the National Cathedral. In 1968 I was a brand new Air Force second lieutenant living in Washington DC. I had only … Continue reading
2018 is a memorable year for me. In 1968, after a stint in graduate school, I began my full time Air Force career. My initial duty assignment was to be in Washington, D.C. I had orders to report there … Continue reading
Although we had lived in Washington, D.C. for many years, by 2001 we had moved to the Finger Lakes area of New York, where I had taken a job as alumni director of my college. Both of our daughters had … Continue reading
Every family has a skeleton in the closet. In our family, Willard Smith Norvell and Bayard Boyd Norvell fit the bill. They were the sons of my great uncle Edwin Forrest Norvell, who had served in the Civil War, as … Continue reading
April 14, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. As a military historian I have over the years come to respect Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War. As an American historian I admire his astitute political … Continue reading
Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: “Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together.” In 1989 my mother came to visit with us for 6 weeks (that’s 42 … Continue reading