Veterans Day: St. Louis Remembers World War II

by Marianne Richmond on November 13, 2007

We have a remodeling project underway at our house and the deadline is the arrival of our Thanksgiving house guests on November 20th. When I arrived back home this morning at 9:30 I was surprised to find that I had the driveway all to my self. When I called to ask where everyone was, the slightly embarrassed sounding answer was, "They told me it was Veterans Day."  

"Veterans Day? Is that a no work day? Are they Veterans? And wasn’t that yesterday, anyway?"  Well, after I calmed down it actually served as a little nudge for me on a project that I wanted to get going.

 Last summer, in anticipation of the airing of  the Ken Burns documentary about World War II on PBS, KETC in St. Louis began a local project called Your Stories, St. Louis Remembers World War II. Ken Burns told his story of World War II through the personal accounts of men and women from four American towns. The photographs and footage of the battles and the carnage combined with the voices of the veterans was haunting.

Here in St. Louis, they added social media, a blog, a Facebook Group and YouTube. They invited those with stories to share them,  to post them to on a Facebook wall, or to create their own video for YouTube. They have accumulated over 300 stories. I ran into them on Facebook where they have been a little less successful in finding participants.

My mother had kept this huge scrapbook during World War II. My father was in the Air Force and my mother accompanied him to California until he left for Guam. The scrapbook has menus, napkins, matches, newspaper articles, anniversary cards, and pictures documenting their travels.

My mother turned 95 last month. My father died in 1975.

I used to love to look at the scrapbook when I was a child and sometimes my mother would tell the story behind the napkin or the menu. Now, if you try and turn a page, it crumbles. I am hoping I can get digital pictures and some video stories. Its never too late to join the conversation.

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