NEWTON, Iowa – Carl Wilson, of Monroe, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II 70 years ago. But today, he’s recounting as much of it as he can.
“He was 17 when he served,” said Judy Wilson, his wife.
Wilson is one of 15 WWII veterans telling their stories to Iowa court reporters at DMACC’s Newton campus Friday. The Veterans History Project, in its second year, aims to bring these stories to a permanent home in the Library of Congress.
“The purpose is to get the veteran’s stories,” said program director Patti Ziegler. “What we’ve tried to capture in these events on our campus is World War II veterans, because we know those stories are being lost.”
As WWII veterans approach their 80s and 90s, Zielger says time is running out to capture their stories and mark them down in the nation’s history books. Transcripts of these veterans’ interviews will also be provided to the Iowa Gold Star Museum in Johnston, at Camp Dodge, as well as in the DMACC Library collection for student research purposes.
“They’re deep, they’re rich stories, because they tell what really went on during their time in the service,” said Ziegler. “A wide variety of experiences; sometimes they’ve never told those stories.”
Judy Wilson would agree; she says, even after 62 years of marriage, she’s still learning new things about her husband.
“In listening to his stories, I find out more each time he tells them of his stories,” she said. “So I keep learning new things about my husband after all these years.”
Wilson would argue he’s nothing special, and his stories can’t contain anything the Library of Congress doesn’t already have.
“Well, I figured probably anything I had to say didn’t amount to much, I don’t suppose,” he said.
But Ziegler says it’s these individual, unique perspectives on WWII that create a deeper, more detailed history for the nation to review.
“It’s a very, very rich history, that we get through these one-on-one interviews,” she said.