Magazine article America in WWII

Dragon Scales

Magazine article America in WWII

Dragon Scales

Article excerpt

I HAVE A FRIEND WHO USED TO E-MAIL ME AMAZING FACTS--or so they seemed at first. The ones I remember best were the unbelievable military records of teddy-bearish stars of kids' TV shows. I'm sure you've heard these stories. Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, I learned, was a navy Seal in Vietnam, extremely skilled in hand-to-hand fighting. He killed some two dozen enemies in single combat. I was in awe (and a bit of horror) ... but I was skeptical.

I felt ashamed for questioning Mr. Rogers' martial prowess, but I went online to see what I could find, and there it was: the story of Mr. Rogers the Seal, but also the truth about Mr. Rogers, supported by verifiable sources, by real evidence. Sadly, the story and the truth were not the same. Mr. Rogers was never in the military. He went to school for music and ministry, then worked his way into television and ultimately got to do his groundbreaking children's show. Lots of people witnessed him do all that. No one seemed to have witnessed him sneaking off to Southeast Asia.

Then there was Bob Keeshan--better known as Captain Kangaroo. According to an e-mail I received, the good captain was a marine who fought on Iwo Jima. Like Rogers, Keeshan had never mentioned this because he was too strong to need praise and too humble to bear it.

To my friend's frustration, I did some more fact-checking. This time, there were shreds of truth: Keeshan was a marine in World War II. …

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