Veterans Share War Stories

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

May 17, 2006

This time of year, it seems everyone is making a point to say thank you to military veterans everywhere. On Wednesday, students at Saint Anne's Belfield School showed their thanks to veterans in words.

Students from the history department of St. Anne's Belfield School got an opportunity to learn history from those who actually created it.

"It was kind of one of our projects this year, so we came over here to do a preliminary experience just to get know the veterans," said Wilton Megargel, and 11th-grader at St. Anne's Belfield School."

The project was to help record the stories of veterans which will go to the Library of Congress' archives. The students spoke to 14 veterans who live in the Morningside Assisted Living community. The veterans served in almost every branch of the military during world war two. Conversations between the two were recorded as part of the veterans history project.

"We got together. It took a couple months to get the kids all in the right place, and the veterans primed and ready. We did it all in one afternoon" said Douglas Day of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society.

Primed and ready, the veterans who are usually quiet when it comes to telling their stories, taught the students so much that it became interesting.

"It was really interesting to come over here and get to know our veteran, and work with him in getting his story onto tape, and into transcript form," said Phillip Neill, also a 11th-grader of STAB.

Although educational, the biggest benefit was the veterans.

"To get it out on paper actually, and to get an oral history, or recording. It's an opportunity to pass on to their family and friends, and to leave a legacy that will last forever," said Monica Gearhart, of Morning Assisted Living.

An experience, both the student and veteran, will remember forever.

If you would like to learn more about the veterans' stories, or share your thoughts about their military service, you can do so at the Armed Services Appreciation Parade, which starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Rio Hill shopping center.

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