One-man show portrays Medal of Honor recipients

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With Veteran’s Day on Monday, the contributions and sacrifices that soldiers make for their country are still fresh in people’s minds. Last night, only two days later, McCain Auditorium hosted the one-man show “Beyond Glory,” acted out by Stephen Lang, award-winning actor known best for his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch in James Cameron’s “Avatar.”

“Beyond Glory” is an adaptation of Larry Smith’s book of the same name. In the production, Lang acts out the perspectives of eight American Medal of Honor recipients from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

“I believe this performance will cause people in attendance to reflect on their own feelings, on the concepts of bravery, courage, and even leadership,” Todd Holmberg, McCain executive director, said. “There are themes that can be taken out of the context of the battlefield and used as inspiration to overcome difficulty in all other challenges of life, no matter how big or small.”

Lang gave a spirited performance, giving each veteran his own distinct voice and characteristics. It had the variety of a traditional theater production.

“To see one man personify the characters of so many interesting Medal of Honor winners will be fascinating from the standpoint of the study of acting as a craft,” Holmberg said. “The opportunity to really observe one person explore the subtlety of acting as art is sometimes missed by the viewer with a full cast production.”

After the performance, which received a standing ovation, Lang recognized a Medal of Honor recipient in the audience, Charles Hagemeister. Hagemeister received his commendation for his actions during the Vietnam War.

“I thought [the show] was great. It was well done,” Hagemeister said. “Like most people, I knew all the people that [Lang] talked about.”

To help those unfamiliar with these recipients and their actions, McCain personnel placed several display stands in the entrance area, detailing their histories and merits. After the show, several people gathered around these displays to get to know the veterans featured in the show.

“It was tremendous to see a dramatization of real stories that had happened,” said Richard Marston, K-State geology professor. “Everybody has a personal story. Yes, you’re in a platoon, you’re in a battalion, but each person had their own background, their own story. And they came in and hopefully came out of the service two different people. You can’t go through that without being changed.”

Lang concluded the show by donning a red shirt with the words “Got Bro?” on it, and spoke with reverence and appreciation about his earlier visit to Fort Riley and meeting with the First Infantry Division, commonly known as The Big Red One. Several members of the armed forces were in attendance at the show, and his story and praise earned thunderous applause.

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