Press Play to start audio

February 19, 2008

A Birthday In Combat


On February 19, 1945, John Staples and 30,000 U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima, a volcanic island in southern Japan. It was the start of what would become one of the bloodiest campaigns of World War II.

It was also John's 23rd birthday. John talks to Dick Gordon about what he remembers of that day and the 34 subsequent days he spent fighting on Iwo Jima.

Today, John turns 86.


Michael Sweig was a maitre d' at Chicago's Pump Room in the early 1980s when one of his favorite celebrities, Richard Pryor, came in to the restaurant. Pryor was known for his colorful humor and the colorful language that peppered his acts.

Pryor ended up inviting Michael to his show that night in Chicago. Michael had front row seats and backstage passes, but Pryor ended the show much differently than Michael ever could have expected. Pryor forever changed the way that Michael viewed language, particularly racial slurs.


Tagged with
, and

You might also like…

Daily Story Update

Get daily updates and special announcements about The Story.

Produced by

WUNC North Carolina Public Radio 91.5 logo