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Honoring Captain Emil Kapaun; Ancient History in Modern Times; School Holds First Integrated Prom; National Pillow Fight Day

Aired April 12, 2013 - 00:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: So while Fridays may be awesome, the severe weather moving across parts of the U.S. this week is not. But it is leading off today`s show. Earlier in the week, some states got hit with huge snowfalls. A blizzard warning in Denver and South Dakota; the snow and ice knocked down power lines and trees. The storm system moved east bringing wind, rain, and reports of tornadoes with it. At least one person was killed. Several others were injured when twisters touched down in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Wildfires, tornadoes, snow, ice, flooding - all of that probably sounds crazy that it`s all happening at the same time. This is a symptom of the season, and as temperatures change, so does the weather. CNN meteorologists say that in spring, we should expect the unexpected.

Emil Kapaun served in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War. He didn`t carry a rifle. He never fired a shot. Kapaun was a captain. He was also a Roman Catholic chaplain - Father Kapaun. During the Korean War, when his unit moved, Captain Kapaun stayed behind to help the wounded. He knew there was a risk of being captured by the enemy and that`s what happened. As a prisoner of war, Captain Kapaun helped save other prisoners from being shot. He snuck around the camp, ministering to other prisoners. He snuck out of the camp, stealing food, and sneaking it back for others. Eventually, he died as a prisoner. This week his actions earned him the medal of honor, the military`s highest award for valor. President Obama presented Kapaun`s nephew at the White House yesterday, saying he couldn`t imagine a better example for all of us, whether in uniform or not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The Roman Empire once covered parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Totally true. The empires stretched across areas of three continents.

AZUZ: On a modern map, you can go from England down to Egypt, and from Syria across to Spain. All of that was part of the Roman Empire. Two thousand years ago, one out of every four people on earth lived under Roman law. The empire, of course, is long gone, but archaeologists are digging up relics from the empire to this day and what they find can give a glimpse at what life was like back then. Erin McLaughlin looks at some recent discoveries.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are the very beginnings of Roman Londinium.

SADIE WATSON, SITE DIRECTOR: This was a hugely important town for the Romans even when the Romans were based in Rome, across the empire. So we are learning much more about the development of a major city in the Roman Empire.

MCLAUGHLIN: Pottery, jewelry, and tools, clues as to how an ancient people once lived, buried in what is now a very modern city.

This is the heart of the city of London. You have the Gherkin (ph) over there as well as the Bank of England, and over here, you have a construction site. Inside that building site, a team of archaeologists is in the process of uncovering thousands of artifacts dating all the way back to the Roman period.

Artifacts preserved in the lining of what was once an old riverbed.

WATSON: The deposits we are excavating are waterlogged, and they have anaerobic conditions - which means there was no oxygen getting to them. So metalwork doesn`t rust. So it comes up looking as shiny as the day it was dumped or dropped in.

MCLAUGHLIN: The find includes rare objects like a tiny amber amulet in the shape of a gladiator`s helmet. Archaeologists believe it once belonged to a child.

What was life like back in the Roman times?

WATSON: Well, we`ve learned that life in the early Roman period was pretty hard for lots of people. Very very small rectangular swellings thrown up quite quickly, lots of small-scale industrial activity going on. Very busy, very smelly.

MCLAUGHLIN: Thousands of years of history. Archaeologists say there`s likely more out there lysing right under our feet. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See if you can ID me. I`m a well-known legal case. I started in Kansas and eventually went in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. My outcome in 1954 led to the integration of America`s public schools. I`m Brown v. Board of Education and I contributed to the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

AZUZ: That case said it was unconstitutional to have separate but equal schools for students from different races. So, schools integrated, but in some places some school-related traditions remain separate - like prom. In Wilcox County, Georgia there was one for white students, and one for black students. These were private events organized by parents and students, so they weren`t organized by the school system. This year, some Wilcox students are organizing one of the proms, but they`re changing the tradition.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These teenagers are attempting to do something that has never been done before in tiny Wilcox County, Georgia, home of the Wilcox County High School.

KEELA BLOODWORTH, PROM ORGANIZER: We`re basically making history in Wilcox County.

BRANDON DAVIS, PROM ORGANIZER: This prom is integrated.

TUCHMAN: Wilcox County High has never had an integrated prom. Instead, for as long as anyone remembers, there has been one prom for white kids and one prom for black kids. There will still be a white prom this year, but these teens are organizing another prom that welcomes kids from all races.

MARESHIA RUCKER, PROM ORGANIZER: We share everything else together, why not have this one moment that means the world to us together?

TUCHMAN: After segregation in schools was ruled illegal 60 years ago in this country, many high schools stopped sponsoring proms so they wouldn`t have to worry about legal repercussions of privately sponsored high school proms. Here in Wilcox County, proms remain privately sponsored. Some say, it`s just a matter of tradition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s fine (ph) if you want to get together (ph) and have a prom. I think they should be able to do it, and I think that blacks should be able to do it too.

TUCHMAN: Others are much more blunt about their desire to maintain the tradition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There should be two separate proms.

TUCHMAN: Tell my why you feel that way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I don`t think there should be black boys going with white girls. I don`t like that, I don`t believe in it. I wasn`t raised that way.

TUCHMAN: You know, but this is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was raised --

TUCHMAN: This is the year 2013 though, not 1953.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was raised to appreciate them (ph) and you know, not be disrespectful, but that`s just my opinion.

TUCHMAN: But, the integrated prom committee has national support. In fact, the committee has its pick of free DJs, dozens from around the country who have volunteered to provide the entertainment. Many of the county`s parents went to segregated proms back in their day and say the time has come for this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that they were destined for this moment and nobody else could do this before now.

TUCHMAN: And many in Wilcox County are supportive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just makes sense to have one prom. There`s no reason to separate them

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel, they`re all classmates. If they can participate in and play sports together, why not have a prom together:

TUCHMAN: The high school principal and the superintendent of the school district would not go on camera, but the superintendent told us off camera that the tradition of private proms is being reevaluated and a decision about whether the school will sponsor integrated proms in the future is being considered.


AZUZ: If you`ve got some thoughts on this story you`d like to share with us, Facebook is where to do it today. If you`re on Facebook, our address is And of course, teachers we want to hear from you too. If you go to, you check out the resources box and look for the feedback link you can tell us what you thought of today`s show.

Next up, a pair of fishing stories. They`re definitely not tall tales. First, if you`re talking about the one that got away, it helps to have evidence. Isaac Brumaghim was on a kayak reeling in a tuna, wow, when something else decided his catch was bait. Of course, it was a shark. The thing leapt out of the water trying to eat Isaac`s fish off the line. Eventually it did.


ISAAC BRUMAGHIM, KAYAK FISHERMAN: The shark is part of the ocean, he`s going to want fish, and we`re in his domain, so you just got to live with it.


AZUZ: Well, better the fish than the fisherman.

Next up, members of a high school baseball team from Georgia managed to hook a great white shark. The one that got away. This is the one you want to let go. They did let it go after two hours of trying to reel it in and now these teens have a new angle on the activity.

Amazing rescue story out of Oregon. A man was using an antique tractor to pull out a stump. His boot slipped on the clutch and the machine rolled over on him. His daughters heard him screaming. They called 911, but knew it would be a while before helped arrived, and their father couldn`t breathe well. So it was one 14-year-old, one 16-year-old, and one 3,000 pound tractor that after six or seven tries they lifted enough for their father to get out of danger.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great girls, but I mean that`s just a lot of weight. Just to think - I mean I`m a big guy and I don`t know if I could do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was saying, God help me over and over, because I knew, obviously that I couldn`t lift it myself. It was heavy.


AZUZ: Heavy is right. Our last story today, in most circumstances you should probably avoid getting into a fight. This might be an exception. It`s perfectly palatable when you`re pugilistically pelting with pillows. Short version, pillow fight. This was one of the events held around the world as part of International Pillow Fight Day. It`s been going on for a few years not. The rules are simple: you bring your own pillow, preferably a soft one, don`t wear glasses, don`t hit anyone without a pillow. Follow those and you won`t ruffle any feathers. You might want to bring an extra pillow just in `case.` But as long as you intend to have fun, you shouldn`t be let `down.` It`s time for us to put this baby to bed. I`m Carl Azuz, have a great weekend.