Monday, May 30, 2011

Telling The Full Story of The Greatest Generation

Donald Dayton; USS Lexinton, Pacific Theater; "Survived, against all odds, a plane crash in the North Atlantic during a training mission." 

This Memorial Day we feel honored to feature the work of Cheyenne Miller and her Heroes of Washington County project, which is working to collect oral histories and photographic records from World War II veterans who reside in this rural county located south of Iowa City. We'd like to thank Megan and Shawn, long-time readers of this site, for letting us know about Mrs. Miller and her phenomenal work.

After Mrs. Miller's grandfather passed away (he served in the 82nd Airborne during the war), the idea of collecting veterans' stories took a hold of her; when her grandmother survived a near-fatal fall a few years later, Mrs. Miller had an epiphany of sorts that this work must be done--and it must be done soon. What has happened since is nothing short of amazing, judging by the Facebook page which is currently serving as a community gathering-point for the project.

As Mrs. Miller told us in email correspondence, the support from the community has been overwhelming and inspiring, as folks have contacted her with the names of friends and family in the county who served in World War II or were affected by its events. To date, over 70 people have been interviewed, with 30 more conversations still to take place; a book, complete with oral histories and the gorgeous photographs below, will be forthcoming when the project is complete. 

Please visit the Heroes of Washington County site on Facebook to learn more; it is heartening to see how Cheyenne Miller is using this social media site to not only share these stories, but to bring these communities into conversation. A few photographs, with captions, are included below, but please visit the site above for higher resolution images of Mrs. Miller's work.

Robert "Smokey" Glandon; 740th Tank Battalion; "Attached to various units, including the 82nd Airborne. Liberated the 101st Airborne at Bastogne, Battle of the Bulge."

 Howard Yoder; Liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp

Ruth Zehr, Keota; "She was a 17 year-old German citizen living in Czecloslovakia when the war ended. Spent 8 months in a Russian concentration camp before being liberated by the Red Cross."

Robert E. Yoder; Conscientious Objector; Camp 33, Colorado

Fritz Conrad; 30th Infantry Regiment

Related Articles: