Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We will always remember

For those of us in the United States, this is a memorable day. The attack on Pearl Harbor solidified the US’s involvement in World War II. This anniversary reminds me that our veterans and their spouses are getting old. If you have not taken the time to ask them where they were on Pearl Harbor Day – today’s the day. If you were alive for Pearl Harbor Day – it’s time to write down your remembrances.

Don’t forget that many served on the home front in volunteer capacities not just as enlisted personnel. Get the stories from the women! These are the stories we don’t read about. What jobs did the women hold until the men came home? How did this affect their lives and choices.

The Library of Congress has a Veteran’s History Project: for recording your stories. There are even forms and interview questions. Don’t wait. We are losing this opportunity. There are also Honor Flights from across the country to Washington, D.C. for veteran’s to visit the WWII memorial. I’ve read about some of the flights not being able to get enough WWII veterans and so they are filling the flights with Korean Conflict veterans. This is not to belittle the Korean Conflict service but to point out how precious the time is for the WWII stories.

If it were not for a stop by our home on his way to a reunion with his unit,  I never would have heard about my Uncle Jim’s two narrow escapes. The harrowing tale of being shot down behind enemy lines and living off raw rabbit meat for a month in a French cave might have died with him.

If I had not hung around my Dad while he was cleaning out desk drawers one day, I would never have seen and read (and since transcribed) his WWII strike journal which detailed each of his Air Corps missions. The patch below and photo were part of his collection. Dad - Clifford Ralston Beach Jr. is the young man on the left.

Enjoy your genealogy research but don’t forget to preserve the stories for future generations.

Happy Hunting!

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