Knoxville man creates documentary on Tennessee military heroes

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Knoxville man has made it his mission to tell the story of Tennessee's heroes from the Revolutionary War to Kandahar.

This is the first documentary on Tennessee's military heroes, called "The Tennesseans: A Volunteer Legacy." Ed Hooper, the man behind the project, says he came up with the idea as he noticed the stories of Tennessee's military men being left out of the history books.

Hooper scoured courthouses, museums and even traced back historical artifacts to their owners.

"Tennessee has a lot of myths and legends, like a number of subjects does, and I had to get past the myths and legends and focus in on the facts," said Hooper.

The documentary crosses gender and racial lines, with many names and faces unnoticed until now. Tennessee soldiers fought in the American Revolution and Tennessee Volunteers were at the Battle of the Alamo.

"What I find interesting about these men at the Alamo is this spirit, and this spirit is we're really going to stand our ground," said Hooper.

Hooper mentioned the racial segregation of the armed forces during World War II. Because of segregation, black units could not be sent overseas, but need outgrew the policy. One black Army unit was sent overseas to fight, and among that unit, 12 soldiers came from Tennessee.

"I guess what I want people to pull away from it is why we're called the Volunteer State and to put these men and women who lent their time, their sacrifices, on the record," said Hooper.

The documentary aired 4th of July weekend on PBS and will air again locally on PBS, August 1 at 9 p.m. The DVD is not available.