November 3-4, 2023
Walk through History
With World War II authors and World II Veterans
The Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas is excited to offer the
Walk through History Event.
Be a part of history as you explore their stories.
If you love the stories of history and like to learn about our country’s military history, this is the event for you. Combine your love of learning with one of the “Coolest Towns in America.” Enjoy all Brevard has to offer, from our quaint downtown with great shopping to a vibrant arts and culture scene. Our backyard has 250 majestic waterfalls and 100,000 acres of forest; explore and enjoy.
You will hear from nationally known and best selling authors of military veterans’ history.
Meet people who have similar interests and enjoy learning about U.S. military history.
Meet veterans who have lived through the conflicts and will be in attendance to talk about their experiences
Brevard has great restaurants, two museums, historical walking tours, art walking tours, art galleries, music, shopping, hiking, fishing and so much more.
Friday & Saturday: $125/per person
Saturday Only: $50.00
Proceeds support the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas
History comes alive when best-selling authors and historians tell the stories of WWII. Over a leisurely day and a half, enjoy six talks, add in a walking tour of the Veterans History Museum, then spice it up with conversations with actual WWII Veterans who were there.
During your visit enjoy our charming shops, art galleries and sidewalk sculptures in the picturesque mountain town of Brevard, NC. This is a recipe for perfect, stimulating yet relaxing November days in the mountains. Reserve now. Spaces are limited and we anticipate this event to sell out quickly.
Honorary Chairman James Scott, historian and author of Target Tokyo, Rampage, and Black Snow will welcome you to the conference that brings history to life.
Scott is a sought-after public speaker about World War II. Over the years he has lectured on military bases, at presidential libraries, book festivals, and in universities and museums around the world. Included among those institutions are the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, the University of the Philippines, the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, and the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Scott’s talk will focus on the Doolittle Raid recounted in his book Target Tokyo.
Author and Historian James Scott
Educated at Oxford University, Alex Kershaw is the widely-acclaimed, prize-winning, New York Times best-selling author of twelve books, including The First Wave, The Longest Winter, The Bedford Boys, The Liberator and most recently Against All Odds. He has been a journalist for over thirty years, having written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, AARP Magazine, The Guardian and many other newspapers and magazines.
Kershaw is a popular public speaker, and designs/leads history tours around the world. He is also the Resident Historian for Friends of The National WWII Memorial and chairs the Colby Award selection committee. He lives in Washington D.C.
Kershaw’s presentation will focus on the story of the D-Day landing in his book The First Wave.
Author Alex Kershaw
Jonathan Jordan is a military historian and an award-winning author of three books, including the New York Times bestseller Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley and the Partnership that Drove the Conquest of Europe. He is a regular book critic for The Wall Street Journal, editor of the Library of Texas edition of To the People of Texas, a contributing author to The Amazing Book of World History and The Amazing Book of World War II, and the author of nearly two dozen articles appearing in MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, World War II Magazine, Military History, and World War II History magazines. In addition to showcasing his military history expertise in the documentary Silence Patton, he has made numerous live, televised, podcast, and radio appearances. Jonathan lives with his family in Marietta, Georgia.
Jordan’s presentation will focus on the story of the Battle of the Bulge in his book Brothers, Rivals, Victors.
Author and military historian Jonathan Jordan
Meet WWII Veterans and hear their stories
WWII Navy veteran
George Sarros is a WWII Navy veteran who served on LST 515 during Exercise Tiger. Exercise Tiger was a rehearsal for D-Day. LST 515 and other LSTs were to land troops and equipment on Slapton Sands England. Because of a mixup in communications, there were no British warships present to protect the LSTs from German Torpedo-Boats. Many LSTs were torpedoed and over 700 men were lost. George remembers how he and his shipmates pulled sailors from the sea that was burning with fuel oil. His captain disobeyed orders to return to port, so that they could rescue more sailors. The story was classified for many years, but now is told in the book Exercise Tiger.
On D-Day itself, George’s battle station was on an anti-aircraft gun on LST 515. He remembers a German Me-109 diving to strafe them, but an American P-47 shot it down before it reached them. They landed tanks, ambulances and engineers on Normandy Beach. Then they evacuated the wounded. George made 65 Channel crossings in the days after D-Day.
To read more about George click here.
P-47 pilot, Army Air Corps
Ed Cottrell served as a P-47 pilot in the Army Air Corps in the Battle of the Bulge. He flew 65 missions of close air support to the infantry, targeting German Tiger Tanks. On one mission his plane was hit and his windshield was covered in oil. Two German Me-109s appeared on his wingtips. “This is it,” he thought. The Me-109s escorted him back to his base and gave him the the “OK” circled thumb and forefinger sign before peeling off and returning to Germany. Ed knelt down and kissed the ground when he got out of his cockpit at his base. The next day his crew chief told him that 8 of the 18 cylinders in his Pratt & Whitney radial engine had been shot out.
Ed credits the dependability of the Pratt & Whitney engine with helping to save his life. In this iconic photo, Ed revisited his old air base in Belgium two years ago and found the gravesite of his roommate who was shot down.
To read more about Ed click here
Served in the Navy as
a gunner’s mate
Joe Cooper served in the Navy in the Pacific. In the battle of the Leyte Gulf, Joe was a gunner’s mate on the Escort Carrier Ommaney Bay. He helped shoot down a Japanese “Betty” bomber. Then a kamikaze “Betty” plane crashed into the flight deck and exploded. Joe remembers dumping ammunition overboard when the order came to abandon ship. He jumped 65 feet into shark infested waters. He survived 5 hours in the water before being picked up by boats from the USS Minneapolis.
After the war he enlisted in the Army and served in the Berlin Air Lift. Then he volunteered to go to Korea. He was in the 7th Recon Division and did recon patrols at Heartbreak Ridge and the Punchbowl.
To read more about Joe click here
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3
8:30 am – 8:55 am
Welcome message by Conference Chair James Scott, WWII Historian.
Topic: D-Day Landings
Author, Journalist, Speaker
9:10 am – 9:55 am
9:55 am – 10:10am
Break – meet D-Day Veteran George Sarros LST 515
10:10 am-10:35 am
Author, Historian, Speaker
Topic: Doolittle Raid on Tokyo
10:35 am – 11:20 am
Meet Kamikaze attack survivor Joe Cooper
11:20 am– 11:35 am
Recommended restaurants downtown Brevard. Walk to restaurants
11:35 am– 1:00 pm
Author, Historian, Speaker
Topic: Battle of the Bulge
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
1:45 pm – 2:00 pm
Meet Battle of the Bulge veteran Ed Cottrell
2:00 pm – 2:25 pm
Film: Through Their Eyes
A History of America at War from 1917 through the Global War on Terror.
Two segments: WWII Europe and WWII Pacific
2:25 pm – 2:40 pm
Guided walking tour of Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas + Guided Walking tours of downtown Brevard featuring art galleries and shops
2:40 pm – 5:00 pm
Meet authors and WWII veterans, Book signings, hors d’oeuvres, beverages
5:00 pm – 6 pm Reception
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Welcome to Day Two of Walk Through History – Hear the stories of WWII Veterans who were at D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
8:30 am – 8:55 am
WWII Motor Machinist Mate LST 515
Will tell stories about his combat experiences from the little-known Exercise Tiger (the rehearsal for D-Day) and the Normandy Beach landings on D-Day (65 crossings of the English Channel)
9:00 am – 9:30 am
9:30 am – 9:45 am
9:45 am-10:05 am
WWII P-47 pilot 48th Fighter Group, 493rd Fighter Squadron
Will tell stories about several of his 65 missions, including the Battle of the Bulge
10:05 am – 10:35 am
10:35 am – 10:50 am
10:50 am – 11:10 am
WWII Gunner’s Mate USS Ommaney Bay
Will tell stories about the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Kamikaze Sinking of USS Ommaney Bay
11:10 am – 11:40 am
11:40 am – 11:55 am
11:55 am Close of Walk Through History Event.
Make it a vacation!
Plan to stay a little while longer before or after the Walk Through History Event and explore our little piece of paradise. The art galleries, shops and restaurants of Brevard await you.
Hampton Inn Brevard
275 Forest Gate Dr.
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
We have arranged special accommodations with the Hampton Inn of Brevard for a discounted rate for this event.
Use the code HIS when booking your room(s).
The Hampton Inn Brevard is conveniently located off the Hwy 280/64/276 intersection, on the edge of Pisgah National Forest. Quick bites and shopping are steps away and five minutes from downtown Brevard. Free hot breakfast is fuel for exploring Sliding Rock, Slick Rock Falls, and DuPont State Forest, all within 20 minutes. Enjoy our free WiFi, outdoor pool, and fitness center.
- Connecting Rooms
- Free hot breakfast
- Free parking
- Free WiFi
- Non-smoking rooms
- Digital Key
- Outdoor pool
- Fitness center
- Pet-friendly rooms
What to Do
Make it a vacation!
Plan to stay a little while longer before or after the History Talks and Walks Event and explore our little piece of paradise.
Downtown Brevard offers unique shops, wonderful restaurants serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, art galleries, museums, and self guided historic walking tours. Our nightlife offers music in venues around town… make a night of it.
Transylvania County is home to 250 waterfalls. An outdoors person’s dream vacation. You will never want to leave this hidden gem. With over 100,000 acres of public places to explore, Pisgah, DuPont and the Gorges forests all in our backyard. Explore our waterfalls, many within a short hike, drive the Blue Ridge Parkway for unparalleled views or experience the Davidson River which offers world class fly fishing. Hiking, biking, and rock climbing are among the activities. This is why folks come to play and stay.
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
Asheville Regional Airport is located approximately 21.5 miles. About a 30 minute drive to downtown Brevard on Hwy 280.
Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)
Distance from Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport to Brevard is 54.8 miles via 276 W. The drive will take you about 1hr and 23 minutes.
Contact the Brevard/Transylvania Visitor Center at 800-648-4523 for driving directions from your location to Brevard/Transylvania County.
The conference will be held at Grace Brevard
55 E Jordan Street, Brevard NC 28712
This event made possible by a grant from