United States of America – There is a growing recognition among many historians that first-hand WWII tales – stories from the men and women who served in the conflict themselves – are special but something that are vulnerable to time, thus, there is a renewed effort to gather these recollections before time runs out, a report states.
The push to hold on to these WWII tales is becoming urgent as it is estimated that some 1,000 Second World War veterans die everyday. At this rate, the men and women of the “Greatest Generation” would soon fade away.
Tommy Wiggles is among one of those trying to preserve the tales of a loved one who served during the Second World War — that of his uncle, WWII vet Roy Hatcher, now 81.
His uncle’s WWII tales are often horror-filled.
Mr. Hatcher had only been a mere eighteen-year-old young man when he was shipped off to Europe. His unit was part of the reinforcement sent by the Allies to the now famous Battle of the Bulge, a German attack which is considered as the bloodiest of the war.
Additionally, Tommy is not only working on Mr. Hatcher’s WWII tales which he had spent hours collating along with the many memorabilia the WWII vet has around his home. He is also doing some dozens of others, too.
First-hand WWII tales is also part of the oral wartime history found in the country’s Library of Congress. As a matter of fact, there is a growing collection of these there which include videos, audios, diaries, pictures and other memorabilia numbering to about some 55,000 individual Second World War accounts.
According to Bob Patrick of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, these WWII tales give this current generation the idea of the mundane as well as the heroic things during the Second World War.
Just this week, a new documentary film was released by PBS bearing the title The War with the hopes that it would reach out to more WWII vets.
The War centers on the very personal stories – WWII tales – of those who served in the conflict as well as those who stayed at home to wait for their loved ones who left to serve the country. According to The War director Ken Burns, he wants to present these accounts of the war as how they are and not coat them up as gallant but bloodless myths.
On the other hand, WWII veteran Roy Hatcher was also sent off to the Pacific Theater of WWII after his Europe stint. He, along with his unit, was on stand by to attack Japan. However, with the latter’s surrender, Mr. Hatcher was eventually sent home.
To him, coming home was a blessing as being on the front lines of the war was like living the last days of his life.
His story is just one of the many WWII tales historians are trying hard to save before time comes that they slip away.