Veterans share stories for oral history project
By Matt Caulder
Published in News on September 7, 2013 10:33 PM
World War II and Korean War veterans shared their stories at a social held in their honor Friday, as a program designed to introduce a new oral history -- to preserve the stories of Wayne County's veterans and their families -- unfolded at the Herman Park Center.
The event opened with speeches by members of the Friends of the Wayne County Veterans Memorial, the group that sponsored the event, before the festivities moved to the Wayne County Veterans Memorial.
The program was introduced to record the stories of local veterans and their families before those stories are lost to time.
One of those stories belongs to Curtis Hinton, a former sailor who fought in the Korean War.
"I left boot camp and walked right up onto the boat to Korea," Hinton said. "We were supposed to be relieved July 27, 1953, (at) noon. That's exactly when the war ended. We launched 54 planes off the deck that day."
Hinton served on the USS Philippine Sea for eight years and spent another eight years on the USS Valley Forge.
The veteran brought a book of pictures and letters with him to the event and as he turned to the last page, which listed his fallen comrades, he said, "We got back and they called it a police action. It wasn't a police action for these guys."
James Hood was also in the navy.
Drafted after Japanese forces bombed Pearl Harbor in 1944, he shared a bit of his experience.
"I had been married for four years when I got drafted," he said. "(The Japanese were) the ones who made me have to leave home, so we had no mercy on them."
Those stories and many more will be recorded and archived at the Wayne County Museum in the coming months.
The veterans walked into the building flanked by a line of area Army Reserve Officer Training Corps students from local high schools and were offered an escort to the auditorium.
Kirk Keller, the man heading up the project, urged the attendees to give his number out to any veterans who they had missed so they could have a chance to come in and record their story before it is lost.
"We're willing to go to where you are, that's how much we want these stories," he said.
Those who wish to contribute or those who know someone who has a story to tell are asked to contact Keller at 919-739-6815.