Northern Nevada journalist publishes book honoring WWII veterans
Buy a copy, support Honor Flight Nevada
In time for the holidays, you can now purchase a copy of "Legacies of the Silver State: Nevada Goes to War."
For $25, you will receive this amazing collection of stories about Nevadans involvement in World War II. Price includes shipping and handling. Go here to purchase a copy and learn more.
If you're interested in donating instead to Honor Flight Nevada — or in addition — you can select any amount to donate.
FALLON, Nev. — In early February, Steve Ranson, editor emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News, was visiting Pearl Harbor with a group of Honor Flight Nevada veterans to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
While exploring the USS Arizona Memorial, Ranson came across a piece of information that stopped him in his tracks. Three of the men who served on the USS Arizona — which sank after a Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941, killing 1,177 officers and crewmen as part of the Attack on Pearl Harbor — hailed from Northern Nevada.
What’s more, the three fallen soldiers were from the three cities that Ranson has called home throughout his life: Wells, Fallon and Reno.
“That gives you one of those lumps-in-the-throat moments,” Ranson said. “Because I didn’t know that.”
That revelation is why Ranson, a longtime journalist, military writer and Nevada Army National Guard veteran, was compelled to publish a book that unfolded the stories of the Silver State’s heroes who served during World War II.
Shortly after returning from his February trip to Pearl Harbor, Ranson began combing through the dozens of stories he’s written over the years about Nevada veterans who helped the war effort 75 years ago.
Then he reached out to friends Ken Beaton and David Henley, fellow seasoned journalists from Northern Nevada who have written their share of features on World War II veterans, to see if they wanted to pitch in with the project (of note, Henley is publisher emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News, a sister publication of the Northern Nevada Business Weekly).
They immediately got on board.
“I thought, this is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, let’s get going on this,” said Ranson, noting he had always wanted to publish a book of military stories. “We started working on editing all the stories so that they would follow some type of consistent format.”
Roughly eight months after that flight to Pearl Harbor, Ranson is holding a 280-page book he co-authored with Beaton and Henley — “Legacies of the Silver State: Nevada Goes to War.”
“I would like people to remember the sacrifices of the greatest generation,” Ranson said. “Up until 2016, the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor was a distant memory for many people. I just thought it’s important to tell these stories.”
“Legacies of the Silver State” preserves the stories of Nevada veterans whose courage and bravery played out on battlefields across the globe — from the Invasion of Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge and beyond.
Ranson, Beaton and Henley interviewed everyone from POWs to survivors of Nazi concentration camps to medical care providers — veterans who recount their experiences in vivid detail.
While working on compiling and editing the book, Ranson said he was especially struck by the heroism of the young Nevadan men and women, some who even lied about their age just so they could fight for their country.
“There was one man, Gilbert Sanchez, he was 15 years old and got into the military,” Ranson said. “They eventually found out, but it was after he was on a couple campaigns in the South Pacific … And I did a story on a bombardier who was 19-20 years old, and here he is trying to take down German aircraft.
“I think the youth and what they did is just completely remarkable.”
Ranson said 1,000 copies of “Legacies of the Silver State” have been printed and are being sold by BookBaby Publishing through its online store for $25.
The book will also be available for purchase on Amazon on Nov. 27.
Ranson said 100 percent of the book’s proceeds will be donated to Honor Flight Nevada.
“A lot of the veterans in this book did go on an Honor Flight, so I figured, why not (donate to) Honor Flight,” he said. “And they can try and get as many World War II vets who are still alive back to Washington, D.C. when trips resume.”
Ranson added that he is also hoping to get at least 100 of the books on the shelves of county and high school libraries across Nevada.
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