Swede and Ellie Larson of Rockerville met with us on Saturday, February 9, 2008. Swede recounted twenty years as a USAF pilot, beginning in 1952, and a later visit to the former SS headquarters in Potsdam, East Germany, secretly surviving despite the Russian government's Orwellian campaign to wipe out all traces of Prussian militarism.
Ellie looked back at growing up in World War II Rotterdam, Holland, during German occupation. Her musician father played the violin at a German officers' club, while her brother just disappeared one day and wasn't heard from until after the war, when he walked home unexpectedly to report that he'd been making missiles for the German war effort near Berlin.
On July 14, 2007, we heard from Joseph C. Price of Piedmont, who reflected on decades of USAF experience with fighters and bombers in the Far East and elsewhere over several decades. He was joined by wife Kay, a direct descendant of the “Yi Dynasty” (1392-1910) and whose father was a member of the Red Dragons-type (an elite ROK Army group from South Korea) unit during the Vietnam War. They shared personal insights into the people and culture of many parts of Asia. Their son Joshua currently serves in the U. S. Army in Iraq.
The harrowing tale of former Rapid Citian Peter Vodenka and his 1983 escape/defection from Communist-dominated Czechoslovakia, along with his wife Lilly and their two children, was our focus on November 10, 2007. Now living in Lakeville, MN, Vodenka is co-author of a book on senior SS officer/violinist Reinhard Heydrich, Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia and lifelong anti-Communist.
On April 9, 2011, we again discussed the Cold War and where we are now since the Soviet Union has disbanded. Piedmont's Peter Vodenka talked about his book Journey for Freedom on his boyhood under strict Communist rule and his harrowing defection on foot from "Iron Curtain" Czechoslovakia with his wife and two small children. Vodenka warns, of course, that Americans should never take their freedoms for granted. Listen to SDPB's Dakota Midday interview. Then Read excerpt . . .