Another reason to celebrate

Something delightful arrived in my email inbox yesterday (Sunday, July 5): the audio file of a radio interview I participated in about a month ago, just before I left on my book tour.

Longtime Billings TV and radio personality Ed McIntosh conducted the interview, which was aired on the long-running KGHL Sunday morning program, Lonnie Bell’s Classic Country. Well, officially, Lonnie Bell’s Classic Country with Ed McIntosh.

Lonnie began his four-hour show in 1985, twenty years after the native West Virginian made Billings his home. In 2018, at age 93, Lonnie finally turned all duties for the show — manning the mic, spinning the records and taking calls from listeners all over the country — to McIntosh.

Now, in July 2020, with another birthday approaching, it may be a stretch to say Lonnie is almost 96 years young. Yet, I talked to him on the phone about a month ago, and he seemed the same vibrant, country-music broadcasting legend that I’ve known of for four decades. And that I’ve had the pleasure of calling my friend since 2017, when I was deep into research of the story that became “Midway Bravery.”

My phone conversation with Ed occurred a few days after the 78th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Midway, on June 4, 1942. If you’ve read “Midway Bravery,” you know the connection among Lonnie, the battle and Jim Muri, the battle hero was is the focus of my book.

For those new to the story, I’m attaching Chapter 20 of the book, which details the Lonnie Bell story as it relates Midway and Muri.

And for all, I’m attaching the radio interview in case you missed it last month.

I can state unequivocally that, among the many pleasures that writing this book has brought me, learning about Lonnie’s connection, and getting to know him and his charming wife, Marty, ranks near the top.

Thanks, Lonnie. Thanks, Marty. Thanks, Ed.


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