York Family Receives Gifts from Sweden

From left to right: Sgt. York’s great-granddaughter Deborah York, grandson Gerald York, son Andrew York, great-great-grandaughter Desiree LaPeer, York Park Manager Josh Waggener, and T.J. Fowler.

By Jacob E. Rosenbaum

The descendants of Sgt. Alvin C. York received several special gifts from Swedish rock band Sabaton on Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in a rather impromptu ceremony held at the Sgt. York Park Visitors Center in Pall Mall. Four successive generations of Sgt. York’s descendants were present at the event.

T. J. Fowler, a native Fentress Countian who works as a music photographer in Europe, and is an acquaintance of the band, was key in facilitating the event. Sabaton’s most recent album, The Great War, chronicles the events of World War I, and includes a ballad named 82nd All the Way, which focuses on Sgt. York. Though Sabaton is not the most traditional band, honoring the deeds of heroes in song is arguably the most traditional way of remembering them. In that spirit, the York family graciously accepted the gifts.

The band sent the York family a signed album as a gift, as well as other memorabilia relating to their new album. To reciprocate, the York family signed an additional album, which Mr. Fowler will deliver to Sabaton when he returns to Europe.

“Its a real honor for the family to have these deeds recognized, especially a foreign band,” said Gerald York, Alvin C.’s grandson. “We’ve made trips to Europe, and its amazing how people there are, in some ways, taught more about what Sgt. York did than our students here in America. This helps keep his memory alive, and it’s just a real honor for us.”

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