For today's Three on the Road, we are in Carthage to meet a World War Two veteran; a Veteran who served in the Aleutian Islands.
Nothing like plucking up a boy from Mississippi and sending him to western Alaska with just short sleeve shirts. But what I find interesting about Harry Sasser is not only what he did in the war, but his hobby today. And it all ties together in a specialized way.
On any given day you will find 95-year-old Harry Sasser of Carthage diving into his music collection. A collection he had already started when he went off to World War Two in 1943 but had to leave behind, and then restarted in the late 1970s, to the point where it is today.
I think that I’ve got about 8,000 of the old 78s. I have maybe a couple a hundred of the 45s. I think close to about 4,000 of the LP records. And CDs? I’ve never tried to count them," said Sasser.
Harry’s love of music began as a youngster when his parents tuned in a New Orleans radio show every morning and Harry started his school day with Dixie Land Jazz, still his favorite. But while away from home in the service music was still a big part of his life.
Somebody sold me a radio up there and I picked up Tokyo Rose. And she played the music and we enjoyed it, added Harry. "She was trying to make us melancholy. After all, really it was entertainment to us."
And what he listened to was just the music of the day for a long time; until Harry read an article in one of his music journals a little over 10 years ago about the importance of the songs that were written during the war.
From Joslin’s Jazz Journal in Parsons Kansas. And it was entitled, “Music, the Not Too Silent Weapon of World War Two,” said Harry.
The writer of the article listed several thousand titles that boosted morale, made the home ties stronger, and reinforced determination to win the war and come home.>>Harry: And it gave a list of the tunes that he had found and it just ignited me to see what of those tunes that I had.
Well, it ignited Harry to also delve into the internet and digital recording and noise reduction and so far, to compile 33 CDs of that A-list of World War Two songs that helped win the war.
"I always have to have a project doing something, added Harry.
So Harry Sasser has a new quest at 95 years of age, to not only find more of those songs, but to find the cleanest copies of them he can, and then find some more.
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