Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Metropolis, Illinois Part 3

As I was researching Metropolis to see if the city was really, truly named Metropolis or was it changed later as a publicity/tourism stunt [DISH, Texas, I'm looking at you!]. Turns out it's always been Metropolis as best I can tell...at least longer than Superman has been a going concern. But during my research I also found that Metropolis is also home to another "Man of Steele" other than the Last Son of Krypton. A man named John Steele was born in Metropolis in 1912 and he was a paratrooper who took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. 

During his parachute drop Steele became entangled on a church tower in the town of Sainte-Mère-Église. Steele pretended to be dead and was eventually taken prisoner by the Germans. Steele's landing ended up being a fortunate error in that many of his fellow paratroopers were killed when they landed around Sainte-Mère-Église because the Nazis quickly set up lights that let them target the soldiers easily. 

Steele's D-Day story was made famous in The Longest Day and he was played by Red Buttons who watched in horror as his compatriots were killed. 

Across the street from the famous Superman statue they have a mural dedicated to the men and women from Metropolis who have served to defend our freedom.

A large portion of the mural is in honor of Steele and his fateful trip.

The accompanying plaque tells his story. Someday I hope to visit Normandy and see the memorial that was created in Sainte-Mère-Église with a parachute dangling from the spire of the church

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