OUS veterans project protects our history

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tribune editorial board

They put their hopes and dreams on hold. They risked, and sometimes gave, their lives to fight for world freedom.

The hundreds of thousands of men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II forever earned a place in history through their world-changing efforts of heroism.

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Perhaps television broadcaster and author Tom Brokaw described them best in his book "The Greatest Generation."

Lawrence County, with a long history of sending soldiers bravely into battle, certainly has its share of members of the Greatest Generation.

Today, nearly 60 years after the last bullet was fired in World War II, the Greatest Generation is also among the most endangered. For surviving World War II veterans, the years are finally doing what the German and Japanese armies could not. Across the country nearly 2,000 World War II veterans die each year. With their loss, Americans also lose parts of the history, the personal stories and the first-hand accounts.

Last week, a group of students at Ohio University Southern unveiled a project aimed at recording some of that history. Members of the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society at OUS publicly showed a sample of the preservation work the group has been completing.

The group videotaped a number of local veterans as they were interviewed about their war experiences. The stories are as fascinating as each of the individuals who tell them. From near death experiences to kamikaze attacks, from the horrors of war to the little moments when homesickness took over, their stories are now preserved for the ages.

Our nation - and the world - owes an unbelievable gratitude to each of the men and women who fought during World War II. But more important, we also owe them a promise that we'll never forget why they were fighting in the first place.

Their work truly changed the world.

And a group of OUS students have done their part to never let the world forget it. Thanks to the students for their hard work.