Last year I founded a project called the VetCard Campaign to get young people and adults to create cards and letters of support and appreciation for our older military veterans, with the main focus right now on the Second World War generation.
I am hoping this year to expand the project by employing it as a vehicle for collecting and preserving the stories and recollections of those men and women who served in uniform from 1941 through 1945. While many stories about WWII have already been collected, many more are at risk of being lost forever unless we act quickly to save them.
The project’s focus will not just be on stories of combat but on all areas of service, both overseas and stateside. I want the collection to encompass support services as well, including the critical roles women played in the war effort, such as the nurses’ corps, the WAC, WASPs, WAVES, etc.
And while I welcome hearing about battlefield experiences, I also hope to gather some of the quieter stories as well, the ones that provide a unique window into the day-to-day operations and experiences of those who served behind the lines.
Current estimates suggest that we are losing around 600 World War II veterans each day. Of the millions who served in uniform during the war, fewer than a million remain with us today. All too soon the “Greatest Generation” will be gone and with them many of their recollections.
History is told not just in books and movies, but out of the mouths of ordinary people. It’s derived through many sources, including letters, diaries, recordings, telegrams and the spoken word. I believe it is imperative we do all we can do to keep their memories alive.
I am aware that similar initiatives are already underway in various quarters, which is wonderful. Still, some veterans will inevitably be missed or overlooked in the count. It is my hope that the VetCard Campaign story project can, if only in a modest way, fill in some of the gaps in the record. I am especially interested in hearing from local veterans, their families and friends. In addition to stories, I invite folks to contribute copies of wartime photographs, letters, telegrams, V-Mail and other items to be added to the collection... (see more at: http://www.gastongazette.com/lifestyles/family/war-stories-project-aims-to-save-world-war-ii-memories-1.389358?page=0)