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Presbyterian minister and author Matt Matthews presents the story of his father’s World War II experiences in battle and as a POW in the book One Thousand Miles: Following My Father’s WWII Footsteps, the subject of his talk for the Hampton History Museum’s free Lunch in Time Series program on Wednesday, September 20, noon-1:00 p.m.
World War II shaped Matt Matthews even though he was born 20 years after it ended. As a kid growing up in Hampton, he was afraid he’d have to do what his father did in the 106th Infantry Division in the Battle of the Bulge. As a young adult, he was afraid he wouldn’t. If his father’s silence about war and being a POW said it all, what did it say? That silence and Matthews’ efforts to fill in the blanks molded his evolving definition of manhood and efforts to influence and love his own three sons.
In the summer of 2011, Matthews, his wife, and three boys traced his late father’s World War II footsteps the thousand or so miles from where he was captured in Germany during the Battle of the Bulge to the Clyde River in Glasgow, near where he and 10,000 other seasick American GIs arrived on the RMS Aquitania. Sixty-seven years after his father’s journey, Matthews unwraps spiritual insights about loss, fatherhood, and overlooked graces of daily life.
In 2011 Matt Matthews traced his late father's World War II footsteps and wrote about it in One Thousand Miles (Agenda Books/2017). Mercy Creek, Matt Matthews' first novel and winner of the South Carolina Arts Commission First Novel Prize and other awards, was published in the May 2011 by the award-winning Hub City Press. Fritz and Christine and Their Very Nervous Parents, a children's story about vocation and illustrated by Adrienne Davis, was published in the winter of 2010 by Avenida Books.
For 12 years Matthews has been pastor and head of staff at St. Giles Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, doing ministry and plugging into the arts scene in this vibrant corner of the New South. He grew up in Hampton VA, studied journalism at Virginia Commonwealth University and theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary, both in Richmond, VA.
The program is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring a bag lunch. The museum provides free dessert.