Every Memorial Day weekend we remember the soldiers who fought for the United States. For those of us who have never experienced war, however, it’s hard to understand their experiences.
The Witness to War program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the wartime memories of veterans and helping to give civilians a better idea of what they went through. As their website says, “These are the stories of scared 18 and 19 year olds thrust into circumstances of such intensity and violence, that they became the defining moments of their lives.”
Some are video interviews, like Hap Chandler’s thoughts on his involvement in the Dresden bombing, and Jim Paine’s harrowing memory of being the only survivor when his Jeep ran over a German mine. There are also written memoirs and wartime diaries. Some are short anecdotes while others are more extensive. Tucker Smallwood gives us 23 pages of his gripping Vietnam memoir.
All of the stories Witness to War collects will be donated to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project and other non-profit organizations willing to spread their message.
There’s plenty of reading here and a lot of food for thought. So sometime this Memorial Day, take a break from the cookouts and TV and check this out.
[Photo of American soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge courtesy Wikimedia Commons]