From an Air Force weatherman who saw the destruction in Nagasaki firsthand after the Japanese surrender in World War II to a mother whose son died serving in Iraq, the stories are moving and emotional.
The American Wartime Museum's Wartime Oral History Project is an ambitious undertaking to record the stories of those who have served in America's wars in their own words. The project, now available on the museum's new YouTube channel, features stories from veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the War on Terror.
Watching the videos feels almost like sitting in a room surrounded by generations of heroes and listening to them recount, one by one, the stories of what they saw and did. A Marine serving in Korea whose Boy Scout hatchet saved his life when it stopped a bullet. Another who served in Vietnam and remembers the pride of listening to the U.S. moon landing and the excitement of Neil Armstrong visiting the troops.
"It's not a heroic act," said Army veteran Bob Lauver of his actions in Vietnam that earned him the Silver Star. "You've seen people get decimated, you know something has to be done."
The project features short clips of interviews done with veterans and family members, but the museum will retain the full interviews and added to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
The museum will be built on a 70-acre site on Dale Boulevard just off of Interstate 95, and is slated to open in November 2014. The museum's purpose is to honor Americans who have served in wars since World War I and to educate the public about the experience and sacrifices of service members.