Stories of America’s Past

Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of regular people who made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around and see what inspires you! — Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly
Waco monument of Dorie Miller

Dorie Miller, Hero of World War II

Dorie Miller was a mess attendant on the battleship USS West Virginia when the Japanese launched a massive surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Sunday, December 7, 1941. Dorie Miller Miller was a former high school football champion who performed heroically on that terror-filled morning when the United States found …
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First Native American Doctor: Susan La Flesche Picotte

During the late 19th century, Native Americans had healers within their tribes, but few white doctors would undertake the care of a Native American. Susan La Flesche Picotte, a member of the Omaha tribe, was the first Native American to receive a medical degree. Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Native American healers …
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Wonder Bread: The Most Famous White Bread

Wonder Bread was first made by the Taggart Baking Company of Indianapolis. It was a factory-made bread, but the Taggart family had been making bread the “old-fashioned way” for fifty years. Bakeries were the family business. The first Taggart Bakery was started around 1870, with its earliest location in Anderson, Indiana. …
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Final Evacuation of Saigon Signaled by Song “White Christmas”

By April 1975—after almost twenty years fighting in Vietnam–the United States began its pull-out. That winter the North Vietnamese pushed the South Vietnamese back forcefully and definitively. The Americans knew that it was over. They needed to pull out about 1000 Americans—many of them civilians—and 6000 at-risk Vietnamese, who would suffer …
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curb cut in use

Curb Cuts: They Have a History!

Curb cuts—the slight slope from a sidewalk to a roadway—are preferred by most people: walkers, bikers, and parents pushing children in strollers—yet they came about only because of a hard-fought battle by disability rights activists. Enjoy them, use them, just don’t ever take them for granted. The Issue With Curbs For most people, …
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Sylvia Mendez

Latino Family Opened Door to School Integration in 1940s

The school desegregation case of Mendez v. Westminster (1947) prepared the way for the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, yet few people have heard of it. The case concerned an incident in 1943 when a woman took her three children and her niece and two nephews with her to …
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On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The attack occurred Sunday morning and many naval personnel were off the base for religious services. The Japanese planes arrived at about the same time a fleet of planes from the U.S. were expected, so no alarm was sounded. The surprise attack against the United States Pacific fleet drew the U.S. irrevocably into World War II.

Native American Heritage

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The Story of Parking Meters

The first parking meters in the United States went into use in Oklahoma City in 1935. The city grew rapidly in the early 20th century. In …
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Part of the inspiration for this site comes from this remark: “People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things – simply told.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
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