500 Sheets is the heart-warming, true story of World War II hero Lt. Col. John D. Hanlon and a promise he made during the Battle of the Bulge to a group of Belgian villagers who answered his call for help. The story of that promise and how it was kept by the people in his home town of Winchester captured the attention of people across the country as newspapers, and even Life magazine followed the events.
Using historic photographs and many of Hanlon’s own writings, 500 Sheets presents a story of the war from the viewpoint of a Winchester native who first trained for team-work and leadership on the Winchester High School gridiron and later proved his worth with the 101st Airborne Division, earning a Silver Star and a Purple Heart.
This volume traces Hanlon's story through the moment when 500 Belgian sheets helped save American lives and left him with a promise to keep. Fulfilling that promise after the war, he won the hearts of two countries through his integrity.
Published by the Town of Winchester to be presented to the town of Bastogne, Belgium, as a token of continuing friendship, the book was, in fact, presented to the Mayor of Bastogne on Dec. 12, 2015, by U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Denise Bauer.
Now available to the public, the book is also a tribute to the service men and women of Winchester, exemplified by Col. Hanlon, and to those who have supported them on the home front and abroad.
The author, Ellen Knight, previously authored Winchester Hospital's centennial history (recipient of a Lamplighter Award), a history of the En Ka Society, and many local history booklets and articles.
All available copies of 500 Sheets have been sold out. However, extra copies may be printed on demand. To order a copy, please contact the Winchester Archival Center.