The Second World War came to an end 73 years ago. The men and women who served during the war are rapidly succumbing to the ravages of old age. In my lifetime, I know I'll mourn the loss of the last surviving WWII soldier, as I did the loss of Florence Green, the last surviving veteran of the First World War, in 2012. What the veterans of these horrific conflicts saw and in many cases, were forced to do in combat, should never be forgotten: their deeds and memories give color to every discussion we could have about why war should be avoided at all cost. While there's no stopping their deaths, one man has dedicated his life to preserving as many of the life experiences that the veterans of the Second World War lived through as possible.
The CBC recently ran a fascinating profile on Rishi Sharma. He's a 20-year-old man from California that's dedicated years of his life to interviewing the surviving veterans of World War II. According to the CBC, Sharma has conducted over 870 interviews with U.S. veterans in 45 American States. Recently, he made his way to Canada to hear what our old soldiers had to say about their time at war.
From the CBC:
Sharma says he's been interested in the Second World War since he was a child. He'd pore over books, watch the History Channel and once aspired to be a marine. When he realized how easily accessible war veterans are, he began reaching out to them.
"To talk to a real life superhero, who went through the definition of hell, I could just call them. That's what hooked me. So I started riding my bike to the local nursing home and I started interviewing all those veterans," said Sharma.
It's not a long read, but a worthwhile one.
Oh, and if you'd like to help Sharma continue his quest to interview as many veterans as he can, you can throw a few dollars at his GoFundMe. Better still, check out Heroes of the Second World War and learn how to conduct your own interview with a veteran today.
Image: United States Marine Corps – http://1stbattalion24thmarines.com/photo-galleries/bernard-elissagarays-photos/marines-in-combat/signal/, Public Domain, Link