WWII fighter pilot, alum to speak at U

Although now living over 1,000 miles away, one veteran author still considers himself to be a âÄúMidwesterner.âÄù Samuel Hynes âÄî a former World War II fighter pilot âÄîgraduated from the University in 1947 with a major in English. After getting his Ph.D. from Columbia University, Hynes taught at Princeton University. He is now retired and living in New Jersey, but will speak Tuesday night at the Elmer L. Andersen Library . Although he moved out east shortly after graduation, Hynes said Minnesota and the University meant a lot to him. âÄúIn a sense it was like coming home, arriving at a place that I felt I belonged in all along,âÄù Hynes said. âÄúThere was always a sense of belonging, almost a possession about it, and that was wonderful.âÄù Hynes said he and his classmates had a special tie with the University in the 1940s, due mostly to the G.I. Bill which Hynes called âÄúthe most important piece of social legislation in the 20th century.âÄù In its peak year of 1947, the year Hynes graduated, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions as a result of the G.I. Bill. Hynes said it allowed for people to go to college who otherwise would not have had the opportunity. âÄúI came from a lower middle-class house with almost no books in it and parents who didnâÄôt read books; books had no existence there really. And then I came to this great place, with a library that has more books than I could ever read,âÄù he said. Hynes served as a Marine Corps pilot from 1943-46 and again from 1952-53. He flew a single-engine torpedo bomber jet and saw combat at Okinawa . He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross . He wrote about his decision to leave Minneapolis as a kid, join the Marine Air Corps and become a distinguished fighter pilot in his 1988 book, âÄúFlights of Passage.âÄù Hynes will also be accompanied by former Star Tribune literary editor Dave Wood on Tuesday night. They met while Wood was reviewing âÄúFlights of Passage.âÄù Wood also helped Hynes in researching his autobiography âÄúThe Growing SeasonsâÄù , written in 2003. âÄúThe guy is so charming and well-spokenâĦHe really can write,âÄù Wood said. âÄúAnd what is so good about him is when you read his work, itâÄôs easy to read and he makes writing look easy.âÄù Hynes other works include âÄúThe Auden Generation,âÄù âÄúEdwardian OccasionsâÄù and âÄúThe SoldierâÄôs Tale âÄù âÄî soldiersâÄô narratives of the two world wars and Vietnam, which won a Robert F. Kennedy award. However Hynes is probably most famous for his work in Ken BurnsâÄô PBS documentary âÄúThe War.âÄù Hynes worked with Burns on and off for five years and is a featured commentator in the seven-part series. This event is presented by the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries . Spokeswoman Marlo Welshons said the main topic will be what it is like for Hynes to be from the area, but still have that âÄúMidwestern way of beingâÄù even after moving out east. But even though TuesdayâÄôs conversation is entitled âÄúMidwesterner at Large,âÄù both Wood and Hynes said the talk will be a free flowing dialogue. Hynes said the discussion between him and Wood would be like âÄúan Abbott and Costello team.âÄù âÄúI think I may disagree with him once in a while too,âÄù Wood added. The talk is at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. It will be followed by an author book signing.