It didn’t stop there.
“The more I read, the more I found out about other people in Indiana, specifically prisoners of war,” Shively said.
He would hear about them too, recalling speaking with a colleague one day years ago who told him his uncle was a prisoner of war in the Bataan Death March, in which it is estimated that 60,000 to 80,000 American and Filipino POWs were forced by the Japanese Imperial Army to march much of the 80-mile trip to a prisoner camp in the Philippines.
More primary sources sprang up, followed by more research and more trips to the Pacific. Eventually Shively had interviewed a total of seven men and one woman from Indiana who all survived being prisoners of the Japanese while in the Philippines in the beginning of WWII. “Profiles in Survival: The Experiences of American POWs in the Philippines during World War II,” was published in 2011 by the Indiana Historical Society.
Shively said physically visiting the historical locations provides a heightened sense of appreciation for the subject matter.
“When I go visit these island battlefields, more than anything else, it’s just to be where these important battles took place, to walk on what is this hallowed ground to Marines,” he said.
All of it has led to a reputation that allows him to give presentations at venues across the state and serve as an escort for WWII tours to the Pacific.
“I’ve met some of the finest people I will ever know through my experience of studying the war,” Shively said. “It’s an experience that I can’t attach a monetary value to. It’s been a wonderful experience to study history. I don’t want these guys who went out there and fought and died to be forgotten. There is a lot Hoosiers can be proud of in terms of our contribution to the war.”