Emma Bowman

After World War II broke out, 26-year-old Gilbert Seltzer enlisted into the Army.

Soon after, he was told he was being put on a secret mission — and an unconventional one at that.

Seltzer, then an architectural draftsman, was selected to lead a platoon of men within a unit dubbed the "Ghost Army." Made up mostly of artists, creatives and engineers, the unit would go on to play an instrumental role in securing victory in Europe for the U.S. and its allies.

Editor's note: This story contains some graphic descriptions of injuries that some readers may find disturbing.

On Oct. 23, 1983, Navy hospital corpsman James Edward Brown survived one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on Americans.

When a bomb detonated at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Brown was at his post in the sick hall on the Marine compound — about 200 yards away.

At the time, 1,800 Marines were stationed in the city during the Lebanese Civil War.

Fifteen years ago, David Wilson and his husband Rob Compton were one of the first same-sex couples to marry in the U.S.

If it had been up to Wilson and Compton, their union would've been recognized years before that. Frustrated by the injustice, both men became plaintiffs in a lawsuit that led to Massachusetts becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage on May 17, 2004.

They married in Boston at City Hall and at their church that same day.

Already a bold trendsetter on the pop stage, Rihanna is also breaking barriers in the makeup and fashion industries.

The 31-year-old Barbadian singer has partnered with the historic LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton fashion house, becoming the first woman of color to have a label under LVMH and the first woman to start an original brand for the world's largest luxury group.

The new label is named Fenty, after the last name of the singer (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty). It's an expansion of her cosmetics empire of the same name, launched in a 2017 partnership with LVMH.

Sada Jackson lost her mother, Ileana Watson, to breast cancer in 2016.

There are many things Sada, now a mother herself, wonders about her late mom. So at StoryCorps, she sat with Ileana's best friend, Angela Morehead-Mugita, to learn more. "I want to know more about my mom, as a woman, because I only knew her as Mom," says Sada, 35.

Angela, 55, says she and Ileana were each other's emotional support during vulnerable moments. When Ileana was facing cancer for the second time – when Sada was pregnant — she broke down to her friend, saying, "I may not see my grandbaby."

Dr. Ruth brought sex education into America's homes at a time when frank talk about the subject was considered off-color and out-of-bounds in broadcasting.

But Ruth Westheimer was more guarded when it came to talking about her own life story: a young Jewish girl who became a refugee during World War II.

At age 90, Dr. Ruth is opening up. An upcoming documentary on Hulu, Ask Dr. Ruth, profiles Westheimer's life and journey, revealing a side of her life that even her own children never fully understood until recently.

This week, Lego announced plans to unveil customized bricks designed to help children who are blind or visually impaired learn to read Braille.

At a time when Braille literacy is declining among Americans, advocates for the visually impaired say the new product introduces a fun, interactive way to engage with the tactile system.

After surviving the Holocaust, Judel and Pauline Schuster resettled in Buffalo, N.Y., to start a family.

This Holocaust Remembrance Week, two of their children, Abe and Esther Schuster, reflect on their parents' joyful view of life in a recent StoryCorps conversation.

That philosophy didn't always mean following the rules.

Abe said that one evening when he was in high school, he introduced his parents to his calculus teacher and her husband at a neighborhood restaurant.

Lisa Bouler Daniels, 52, grew up knowing she was adopted. Seven years ago, she began searching for her birth family.

By the time she found them, her birth mother had died. So had her adoptive mother.

She tracked down her half brother, Benjamin Chambers, and showed up at his church in the Chicago suburbs.

"I kinda ambushed you," Daniels told Chambers, now 37, in an interview at StoryCorps in December.

Chambers grew up as one of four children. He had no clue that he had another sibling.

"It was shocking," he remembers.

Updated at 8:33 a.m. ET on April 27

In 1995, Sports Illustrated likened Larry Kahn and David Lockwood to the Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier of Tiddlywinks. A fearsome metaphor for two men who, in the parlance of their game, spend their time squopping and potting, rather than bobbing and weaving.

Editor's note: This story contains language that some may find offensive.

On the morning of April 20, 1999, 16-year-old sophomore Lauren Cartaya escaped quickly from Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., after two students began opening fire.

Lauren's older brother, Zach, then a 17-year-old senior, hid for three hours in an empty classroom with his classmates. The gunmen killed 13 people and themselves in what was then considered the largest mass shooting at a high school.

Baylor gave up a double-digit lead but hung on in the final minutes to win the NCAA women's title game against defending champs Notre Dame by a single point Sunday night in Tampa, Fla.

With the 82-81 victory, the Lady Bears clinched their third NCAA women's basketball championship — joining UConn and Tennessee as the only Division I programs with three or more titles. The last time Baylor clinched the title was in 2012 against the Fighting Irish.

Last updated at 7:02 p.m. ET on April 28, 2019.

For the past few years, NPR has celebrated National Poetry Month by turning to the talents of our audience — your haikus, limericks, odes ... the list goes on.

Earlier this month, All Things Considered once again called on listeners to tweet their original poems to us in 140 characters or less by using #NPRPoetry. Our favorites will be featured both on-air and online.

Nina Martinez just became the world's first living HIV-positive organ donor.

In a medical breakthrough, surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital late last month successfully transplanted one of her kidneys to a recipient who is also HIV positive.

"I feel wonderful," Martinez, 35, said in an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, 11 days into her recovery. The patient who received her kidney has chosen to remain anonymous, but is doing well, Martinez is told.

Felipe Dana has spent more than two years photographing the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but he says he's shot his most compelling work in just the past several weeks.

Along the desert terrain of southeast Syria, Dana, a photojournalist for the Associated Press, has watched as long lines of civilians filed out of the small town of Baghouz.

Shotzy Harrison grew up not really knowing her dad, James Flavy Coy Brown.

He was in and out of her life. James, who has been treated for multiple mental conditions, spent most of his adult life homeless. Once, Shotzy, now 30, found him living in the woods behind a hotel.

At StoryCorps in 2013, the two had reunited, and he had moved in with her and her two daughters in Winston-Salem, N.C. But her dad's presence was short-lived. and they would lose touch again that same year.

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET Monday

Rescuers in eastern Alabama combed through the debris from homes ripped apart by powerful tornadoes that swept through the area on Sunday, killing at least 23 people.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed to media outlets Sunday the number of dead. He told The Associated Press late Sunday evening that children are among the dead, and that it is possible that the death toll could continue to rise.

Lee County is located in the east central part of the state, along the border with Georgia.

Army veteran Sgt. Mickey Willenbring has always been a fighter. She grew up shuffling between homes — with her parents on the West Coast, with family on Native American reservations in the upper Midwest and within the foster care system across the country — during an adolescence she describes as sometimes violent.

But the military struck Willenbring as a way to channel the aggression she says built up during an unstable upbringing. In 1998, Willenbring, then 20, enlisted in the Army and deployed to Iraq five years later.

The first Afro-Latino Spider-Man, Miles Morales, made his big screen debut last year in the animated hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Like Morales, the film's co-director, Peter Ramsey, is making history as the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award in the animated feature category.

Marvel Comics fans grew up following the original Spider-Man character, Peter Parker. So when it came to introducing a new version of the character, the first non-white Spider-Man, Ramsey says it was crucial for the film's creators to get it right.

Updated at 5:20 a.m. ET Monday

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert withdrew herself from consideration on Saturday for the nomination of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Husband and wife Larry and Sharon Adams have spent the past 20 years bringing boarded-up homes in their Milwaukee neighborhood back to life.

The love they share for their community grew out of their love for each other. During a StoryCorps interview in October, Larry, now 65, and Sharon, 72, remember how they first met.

It was 1997, and Sharon had just moved back to her childhood home on North 17th Street in Milwaukee's Lindsay Heights neighborhood. But like several other properties in the neighborhood, it needed some work.

This story is part of the StoryCorps series of conversations.

Last Valentine's Day, Maya Altman stepped out of her freshman biology class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when she heard booming sounds.

Rodger McDaniel was 21 years old when his father died.

His dad, Johnny McDaniel, worked over the years as a miner and milk truck driver, married and divorced Rodger's mother three times – and he loved music.

Rodger remembers his beautiful singing and his shiny, black guitar.

"Even though my father didn't have much of a formal education, he taught himself to play the guitar by ear," Rodger, 70, tells StoryCorps in Laramie, Wyo.

The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots will face off in this year's Super Bowl after winning the NFC and AFC conference championships, respectively, on Sunday.

The Rams, who overcame a 13-point deficit to beat the Saints, last played in the Super Bowl in 2002 — against none other than the Patriots. The St. Louis Rams won the NFL title two years before that.

The Patriots defeated the Chiefs to return to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year.

Los Angeles Rams beat New Orleans Saints

For as long as he can remember, Tommy Tomlinson has understood his identity as inseparable from his body.

The day Martin Luther King Jr. gave his landmark "I Have a Dream" speech in August 1963, a lesser known moment in civil rights history was unfolding in southern Georgia.

More than a dozen African-American girls, ages 12 to 15, were being held in a small, Civil War-era stockade set up by law enforcement in Leesburg, Ga., as a makeshift jail.

Two decades ago, Maria Rivas emigrated from El Salvador to the United States, where she received temporary protected status (TPS) allowing her to stay and legally work.

But later this year, TPS – a humanitarian program — is set to expire for nearly 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador, including Rivas. If forced to leave the U.S., Maria won't take her U.S.-born daughter, Emily, with her.

He was an adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. and the organizer behind the 1963 March on Washington.

Still, Bayard Rustin's legacy as a leading figure in the civil rights movement is little known today, even among many history buffs and within the LGBTQ community. His homosexuality cost him that visibility and was considered by some as a hindrance to the movement's success.

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

What was once a lavish production for Ma'Ko'Quah and Christopher Jones has evolved into a humble, close-knit Christmas.

"We had two little girls and looked forward to spoiling them at Christmastime," Ma'Ko'Quah Jones says. "We took them to get Santa pictures every holiday, went and looked at Christmas lights, and shopped the blockbuster deals after Thanksgiving."

All of those cherished rituals shifted in 2008. That September, Ma'Ko'Quah Jones and her husband lost their third child and first son, 8-month-old Osceola Jones, to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

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