Monday, November 30, 2020

Home A & E Letters Home: A Paratrooper's Story — Q&A with L. Vaughn Curtis

Letters Home: A Paratrooper's Story — Q&A with L. Vaughn Curtis

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Curtis’ book is available in Barnes and Noble, Deseret Book, Seagull Book and Walmart

Last August, a movie captured theater audiences with its gripping story of the 517th Parachute Regimental Combat Team’s dangerous mission in the height of World War II. The story behind Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed is a true story, inspired by a book by L. Vaughn Curtis called Letters Home: A Paratrooper’s Story.

Curtis based the book on the experiences of his own father, Harland “Bud” Curtis, as they were written in 150 preserved letters. When film director Ryan Little came to a reunion of the 517th in 2009, Curtis gave him a copy of the book. Two years later, Little contacted Curtis to ask permission to use parts of the book in a new movie. Curtis is still dumbfounded and thinks it’s surreal and a blessing to see his dad’s story come to life in Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed.

Curtis shared a few thoughts with us about his book, the military and more:

Why is this story important?

“The men of the 517th were the 9-11 team of their day. They were placed in the heaviest combat areas, but they received no recognition. Lots of others are recognized and portrayed in movies like Band of Brothers, but people need to know about those that performed parachute duty for the country.”

Did your own military experience influence your writing?

“When I was young I would go to my dad’s mother, my grandmother, and ask why my dad was so tough. She would read me his letters. I got to know more about my dad as a father and husband and what he did in World War II as a paratrooper through those letters. My military experience helped me understand some of the things that he talks about though. For example, when he talked about KP, I knew that KP meant kitchen police. I knew when he talked about the HQ company he meant headquarters and that DZ meant drop zone. My military knowledge allowed me to explain connections and acronyms in the book. It also helped me understand the more poignant moments and experiences in my father’s letters.”

Most difficult part?

“The hardest part was compiling all of the data to go with the letters. I had to take out some that said things like ‘Hi Mom, things are great’ and make sure the letters I included were meaningful. I also had to check the letters for accuracy in actual history and make sure they fit with the other facts I was connecting.”

Corbin Allred, Jasen Wade (Curtis’ father in the movie), L. Vaughn Curtis, David Nibley. Curtis was an extra in Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed.

Favorite part?

“I never would have thought of doing this until I saw the HBO series Band of Brothers with my brother. After we watched it, we thought ‘Is this what Dad went through?’ so we went home and asked him. He told us that it was and started telling us stories. Before, he never talked about his war experiences. A little while later, my brother received an invitation to go to Camp McCullough.  We also wanted to take Dad down to where he went to jump school and trained in Georgia. Because I was retired military personnel, it was easy to arrange all that.

“I just have to tell a short side-story. When we got to Georgia, I told the Sargeant Major my name and said I wanted to take my dad to the mess hall so he could experience military dining again. He said no problem. So after we walked around for a bit we went back to the hall. There were hundreds of paratroopers waiting in line, and I thought ‘I don’t know how long we’ll be here.’ I suggested we just go grab a sandwich from Subway, but my dad said no. My brother was never in the military so it was a fun experience for him, too. After a bit, the paratroopers around started to notice my dad. Once they figured out he was a World War II veteran somebody shouted ‘Make a hole and make it wide.’ Everyone stood on the sides of the sidewalk and they were all standing at attention. It was neat to see that these men hadn’t forgotten what happened in World War II and they recognized my dad as an American war hero. People were asking for time to eat with him and it was wonderful to see that even after 60 years, his service was not forgotten and he was still treated with such great respect.

“Going back to the question, the most excitement I had was connecting to the letters as a boy, forgetting about them, and then having my dad send them to me again in 2003. As I put them together and tied information in, more and more people, especially other veterans or family members of veterans, wanted a copy. Then I gave a copy to the movie director and you know the rest.”

Anything else?

“I would just like all veterans and people who served in the military to know that this book is meant to honor all of them, not just the paratroopers. It remembers and recognizes that big sacrifices that all of them made to defend our country.

Jason Wade, Corbin Allred, L. Vaughn Curtis and David Nibley at a promotional event at Deseret Book

Mark your calendars! Our 12 Days of Giveaways starts Dec 1! ✨⁠

With giveaway items from local businesses such as @gotbeautydotcom, @woodhouseholladay, @cactusandtropicals and many more, you won't want to miss this! 🎁⁠

Here's the idea: ⁠
⭐ Tag a friend on our giveaway post who you believe should win the giveaway item! The person you tag is then entered to win! (Friends can tag one another) 💑⁠
⭐ Be sure to follow us (@slmag) and the giveaway provider on insta! ⁠
⭐ Entry deadline will be at 10PM. The winner will be announced at 11:59PM and a new prize will be posted at 8AM each day. ⁠

#giveaways #win #contest #christmas #gift #holiday #12daysofgiveaways #slmag
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A holiday letter from our editor, Mary Brown Malouf:⁠

"It’s the season for celebration. And let’s face it—it was a bad year for cheer. Nevertheless, though masked and socially distanced, we will join together again this year in love and joy for one another. We will clink glasses, feast, toast to a better future and enjoy what we have, taking care to live in the moment. Remembering the good times in the midst of the not-so-good and pledging to support one another."⁠

Have a wonderful and safe holiday. Cheers! 🥂⁠

To read the full letter, go to the link in bio.
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Happy Friday! We all know the best way to celebrate the end of the week is with a cocktail 😉! ⁠

🍸 And our next highlighted cocktail is the perfect way to start your weekend. @alibislc's 'Far From The Tree' by Clif Reagle:⁠

1.5 oz. @shdistillery Bourbon⁠
1.5 oz. Utah Honey and Akane Apple Shrub⁠
.25+ oz. @waterpocketdistillery Snow Angel .25 oz. lemon juice⁠
Barspoon of simple syrup⁠
2 dashes Regans Orange Bitters⁠
Combine in shaker over ice, shake and strain into a footed glass. Serve with dried apple garnish.⁠

“My goal for this drink was to make it with as many local ingredients as possible,” says Reagle, “and seeing as the farm scene is pretty quiet in November I decided to go with a classic method of fruit preservation: the shrub.⁠

VOTE VOTE VOTE AWAY! Grab our magazine, grab a cocktail (or make it yourself) and get voting. Cheers!🥂⁠

Link in bio to vote and learn more about Clif Reagle!
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Yes. Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. So instead of stressing out to prepare a meal, help support local restaurants who need our love this Thanksgiving. 🦃⁠

Restaurants are doing what they can to make this Thanksgiving seamless for us. With offerings of curbside pick up, meal kits, and even delivery, ordering out this Thanksgiving seems like a no-brainer.⁠

Oh and did we mention no family-sized mess to clean up afterward? That’s a win-win in our book. 😉 Check the link in bio for full list of restaurants. 🍽️
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Don't forget to vote in our 2020 Cocktail Contest!! 🍸🍹🥂⁠

Our next highlighted coktail is @thecopperonion's “Not Today Satan” by Frank Mealy:⁠

1.5 oz. @shdistillery Bourbon⁠
1.5 oz. pear shrub (Champagne Vinegar/Earl Grey simple 2:1)⁠
.75 oz. lemon juice⁠
Preheat glass with hot water. Mix ingredients, pour into the hot glass, top with hot water and garnish with cinnamon stick, star anise and dried pear.⁠

Mealy is a full-time bartender for the Copper Group. “Inspiration for this drink came from the expectation that we’re going to be running our outdoor patio season longer because of Covid.” People are more comfortable sitting outside, Mealy says, “So I wanted to make a hot drink for the colder months.”⁠

VOTE VOTE VOTE AWAY! Grab our magazine, grab a cocktail (or make it yourself) and get voting. Cheers!🥂⁠

Link in bio to vote and learn more about Frank Mealy!
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Our 2020 Cocktail Contest is live!! 🍸🍹🥂

We’ll be highlighting our cocktail contest contestants throughout the next few weeks. Starting with @takashi_slc’s “Red Dirt Garden” by Crystal Daniels:

- 1.5 oz. Amaro Bilaro
- .5 oz. @shdistillery Barrel-strength Rye
- .75 oz. Lemon juice
- 1 oz. Red rice orgeat made with @redbuttegarden botanicals
- Pinch of Jacobsen Salt from @caputosmarket

Daniels garnished her cocktail with banana leaves and an edible begonia- if you can’t get the begonia, another colorful edible bloom will do. 🌺

VOTE VOTE VOTE AWAY! Grab our magazine, grab a cocktail (or make it yourself) and get voting. Cheers!🥂

Link in bio to vote!
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Did you know that the first woman to cast a ballot in the United States voted right here in Salt Lake City?

In 1870, on her way to work as a schoolteacher, Seraph Young stopped by SLC’s old City Hall—right across from the Capitol—and made history as the first woman to vote under a women's equal suffrage law.

Like many of us, Young voted early in that election simply because she had to get to work on time. Her story reminds us of the power ordinary people have to make history. Now, get out and vote!

Photo: Ron Fox
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Our November-December issue is on stands now!!⁠

And our annual cocktail contest is open for voting! Take all precautions, support our hardworking hospitality community and remember to smile. 🍹🍸🧉⁠

Pick up a magazine, grab a cocktail and vote! Happy November, everyone! ⁠

Check the link in bio to vote.
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Trick or treat? COVID cases are getting scary.

111K confirmed cases and 601 deaths in Utah.

Link in bio for a little op-ed on face masks. 😷
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Here in Utah, we live on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute and Ute Tribes. Today we celebrate the people who first called this land home. We remember the struggles and tragedies they endured and recognize the fight for justice and autonomy that Indigenous Peoples still face. ⁠

Go to the link in bio to give to Diné Bikéyah and support Bears Ears. 🏜️
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