Kathie Lee Gifford talks virtual Memorial Day parade with Ancestry, shares her personal connection to WWII

“I just have always been extraordinarily grateful for people’s service. I always say: ‘And thank you for your service.’ I mean, being locked down so much in these past couple of months, I think people understand how precious our freedom is,” Gifford informed Fox News on Thursday. “And it’s never free. It’s got the word ‘free’ in it but somebody had to fight for that – for us to have it.”

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“I was so honored that they asked me – they could have asked anybody and probably everybody would have done it. But they asked me and I was honored. Very much so,” added Gifford.

The longtime Hoda Kotb working mate mentioned she “respects and applauds” previous and current servicemen and girls “everywhere in the world working proper now to safe that and to preserve such a mandatory a part of our existence – to know that we’re safe and in our personal houses, in our personal nation.”

She additionally shared her household’s deep connection to our nation’s navy that dates again two generations, revealing that her personal father was a 20-year veteran who served within the Navy and lied at age 17 so as to be a part of our navy the place he in the end served in Europe and the place Gifford would later be born.

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“My father was a 20-year veteran as well. He lied about his age – I always say to him it was the only bad thing he ever did. Lied about his age when he was 17-years-old when Pearl Harbor happened and joined the Navy as well,” Gifford defined.

Former ‘Today’ co-host Kathie Lee Gifford is ready to host a virtual Memorial Day Parade on Ancestry’s Facebook web page on May 25, 2020.
(Zeno Group)

“And during World War II, his stepfather was killed in action. His oldest brother was killed in action. His other brother was wounded,” she continued. “So my daddy was the only one who came home physically unscathed by the war. But obviously, no one comes away from war unscathed emotionally in one way or another. So it was all a great personal loss to our family.”

Gifford, herself, was born in 1953 in Paris, France as a result of her father was stationed at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) Headquarters on General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s employees.

“So my father continued to serve in Europe after the war and then served many, many more years at the U.S. Naval Station in Washington, D.C.,” Gifford shared. “So, sure, there is a lengthy historical past. And I simply have all the time been terribly grateful for folks’s service.”

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Gifford mentioned she is happy for folk at house to find a way to tune into the virtual Memorial Day parade given the present coronavirus pandemic that has pressured many to bodily distance themselves from others, thwarting any potential for big crowd gatherings.

“In the past, what people did was they went to their Memorial Day parade down their main streets of their towns and then maybe remembered somebody in their family that had passed or been killed or served in the war,” she mentioned whereas exuding her eagerness to hear the real-life struggle tales that may be shared as effectively.

“But rarely do we hear the individual stories told so beautifully,” she said. “I know that they are living combat veterans, but they span different generations and different wars. So we have a different perspective, too. It’s not just World War II.”

“I mean this is the 75th anniversary of the final end of World War II. So it’s got extra meaning in that respect to 75 years since we won that incredible battle against tyranny on two different continents,” added Gifford. “So I’m grateful that we’re going to be able to do this. These stories are extraordinary.”

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Gifford mentioned she has all the time remained inquisitive about studying about her lineage, thanks largely to her mom, and the self-proclaimed “history buff” maintained that it’s necessary to her that everybody learns the place they got here from – and with Ancestry, folks have an actual likelihood to construct their household tree.

“I think it’s great to know who came before you [and] I’m a history buff anyway – my mom did our genealogy quite a few years ago and she was born under very, very sort of mysterious circumstances,” Gifford mentioned. “A lot of pieces of the puzzle were missing. And when she did that, it gave her a great sense of peace and comfort and actual pride, too. She found out all kinds of things that she was like, ‘Wow!’”

“I’m sure that there are some things we can discover that we’re not going to like too much as well,” she famous. “But I always think [the] truth is power, so find out, and it’s fascinating. And it’s a fun thing to do as a family as well … [to] find out your own family history — and you can go on Ancestry for free on the website — and find out some of the people [who] did serve in your own family, so I think that’s worth doing.”

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During the stay virtual Memorial Day Parade, viewers can even be handled to appearances from celebrities comparable to Rob Lowe and Mario Lopez in addition to unimaginable performances from the likes of Tori Kelly, the Lincoln Way Marching Band from New Lenos, Ill., and Gifford’s favourite of the bunch the Acapop! Kids – a bunch of 25 vocalists handpicked and organized by the Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum mind trusts behind Pentatonix.

“I think Pentatonix is the best. They are unbelievable. They had their very first national television appearance back on the ‘Today’ show,” Gifford mentioned earlier than making the joke that she’d eternally be linked to the acapella performers.

She continued: “So I’m kind of linked to them. Not in an Ancestry.com kind of way, but in a personal way. I know they’re going to be spectacular and to see that kind of musical discipline and musicality coming from kids, I think it’s amazing. That’s what I’m most excited about.”

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Ancestry’s “Parade of Heroes” will stream on May 25 at 11 a.m. EST on the corporate’s Facebook page.

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