Thomas M. Hatfield
inaugural recipient of the Award for Distinction in Patriotic Service
presented by The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas
Monday, November 12th, 2018
Cocktails & Dinner
Neill-Cochran House Museum
2310 San Gabriel Street
Austin, Texas 78705
About the Honoree
Thomas M. Hatfield the historian is an internationally recognized scholar of World War II. He lectures on that history and has extended that impact through the Briscoe Center’s Military Institute and UT’s esteemed Normandy Scholar Program, an undergraduate program co-founded in 1989 to focused on the war.
Hatfield the author has written biographies of two illustrious WWII veterans: James Earl Rudder (Rudder: From Leader to Legend, 2011, Texas A&M Press) and Frank Denius (On the Way: My Life and Times, 2016, UT Press). These accounts blend scholarly precision, lyrical narrative, and deeply-felt sensitivity to the human condition.
Many people know, admire, and love Tom Hatfield because of highly regarded study tours around Western Europe. Participants in his explorations of Normandy, the Low Countries, Italy, and England, have experienced intimate familiarity and deepened understanding of the events and places of WWII. Through Hatfield’s eyes, those travelers have seen the heroics of the Allies, the moving and powerful sites of tragedy and triumph, and the many ways in which honor, reverie, and remembrance are kept alive.
Hatfield articulates his commitment this way: “This is absolutely what drives me on. When I walk over those old battlefields I sense so much passion and emotion and sacrifice. And it’s not only the sacrifice of the men who fought and died there. It involves the sacrifice, the concerted effort of our whole nation.”
He has said that he strives each day better to “uncover the facts and tell the story of our nation’s experience . . . There is a premium on historical accounts that are well researched, analyzed and told in ways that enable young and old to have perspective on our country and its role in the world, to be better citizens and to make informed decisions in the voting booth. There is no better way to do that than from an understanding of the patterns of the past.”
About The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas
The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America expresses in its mission “the promotion of our national heritage” . . . the stimulation “of true patriotism and a genuine love of country,” and to “impress upon the young the sacred obligation of honoring the memory of those heroic ancestors whose ability valor, sufferings, and achievements are beyond all praise.”
For his admirable, sustained, and effective commitment to kindred ideals, we are proud to recognize Thomas M. Hatfield as the inaugural recipient of our Award for Distinction in Patriotic Service.