Old veteran tales find new value

March 28, 2011

A month ago, the last U.S. veteran of World War I died and with him died the last first-person tales of the Great War.

It is a somber thought at the history that is now forever lost. Whatever stories, secrets and insights that generation of doughboys carried with them, are now silenced forever.

Today’s students at Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School are working to make sure that the voices of the veterans of the next great conflict will be detailed for posterity.

The students have collected video recordings of 12 local World War II veterans and will present their project next week at Yes Cinema.

Jordan Patterson, a junior at CSA New Tech, made a profound point recently about the importance of the lessons to be learned by the youngest generation from the oldest.

“We’re the last generation that will be able to talk with World War II veterans, and we really just wanted to document that for future generations so it’s not all lost.”

The math is inexorable. A fresh-faced 18-year-old buck private in 1945 is 83 or 84 today. By the time today’s teens have teenagers of their own, even the youngest World War II veterans will be in their 90s.