Alvin York is one of the most famous war heroes in American history.
He was born in Fentress County, in the upper Cumberland Plateau region. He was drafted into the U. S. Army in 1917.
The next year, in the Battle of the Argonne Forest, York reportedly killed 25 Germans and captured 132 prisoners almost single-handedly. For this act he was awarded the Medal of Honor–one of six soldiers from Tennessee who received that award during World War I.
A magazine called the Saturday Evening Post did a story about York. From that point on he was famous. Parades were held in his honor, and he got to meet a lot of important people.
Because he was so famous, York was offered large amounts of money to make speeches or to endorse products. However he refused to accept money for speaking about the war or writing about it, because he thought it was wrong to profit from what he had done. “This uniform ain’t for sale,” he told someone once.
After the war, York moved back to his native part of the state and devoted a lot of his time and energy to helping create a new school (today known as the Alvin C. York Institute.) To help raise money for that school, York eventually agreed to allow a movie to be made about his life, called “Sergeant York.”
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