Among the many thousands of men and women who chose to serve in the military, few volunteer for the duty of death notification. As the nation honors those killed in the line of duty, those who work intimately with the families of the fallen share their stories. (Originally broadcast May 29, 2006.)
Sometimes records have to steep. Four years after it was recorded live in Lucerne, Switzerland, an album of six standards called Somewhere is finally getting a proper release. Keith Jarrett and his trio, including bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, just weren't happy with the sound of the room or the circumstances at the time. Listen to Somewhere, however, and none of that comes across.
After a band breakup, musician Chris Snyder consoled himself with the challenge of what he called "the threesixfive project": a challenge to write a song every day for a year. This one-man band ended up with 10 songs that stuck, and those formed his debut album, Yearling.
The Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist eventually got a chance to revisit the recordings, which initially were little more than sketches, in an upstate New York studio. Listen to two songs from Yearling here.
On June 5, 1944, Jake McNiece (right) led a group of paratroopers in World War II. After he shaved his head and painted his face before dropping behind German lines for D-Day, the look caught on with his men.
Credit Courtesy of the McNiece Family
McNiece received four Bronze Stars, two Arrowhead Bronzes and was appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honor.
Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who have died this year.
The Dirty Dozen was a Hollywood hit, but it was based — loosely — on a true-to-life WWII paratrooper regiment. Jake McNiece led the group, whose exploits inspired the 1967 movie and earned the nickname "The Filthy Thirteen." McNiece died in January at the age of 93.
At Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Michael Johnson exercises under a long, steel framework set on a wooden platform. It looks like a giant jungle gym. Above his head are pull-up bars and rings. A climbing rope is off to one side.
It's here where he and dozens of other soldiers and sailors will remember the fallen, just after sunrise, on Memorial Day. They'll all take part in a grueling exercise regimen, part of CrossFit, the popular high-intensity workout program.