Red Cross archives WWII veterans' stories

Red Cross archives WWII veterans' stories

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The Central Texas Red Cross has been interviewing vets about their experiences as part of something called the Veterans History Project.

They've done about 150 in the last three years. The last one was earlier this week in Austin and FOX 7 attended.

George Wunderluck, 90, is telling stories about his time in the army, like when he joined up and helped his buddy pass the physical.

"He was color blind so I had a signal for red and blue. We were cheating to get into the army. That's funny to a lot of people I guess," Wunderluck said.

His World War II experience and his life before, during, and after will all be preserved on video and go into an archive at the library of congress in Washington DC.

This interview is being done at office of Congressman Lamar Smith who sees the value of these oral histories.

"There's really no substitute for the person to person and what their memories are and getting it direct...and talking to vets like Mr. Wunderluck you get comments on how it really was and I think that's a real benefit," Smith said.

Frank French with the Red Cross is conducting the interview. The Red Cross has been doing this for several years as a way to connect with vets, give back, and honor them, which French says most vets don't think is really necessary.

"Most of these individuals you talk to are humble and they don't understand how powerful their actions were...and what they've done for our country," French said.

In Wunderluck's case, the former Aggie ROTC Cadet was on a troop ship in the Pacific in 1945, he was part of the force that would have invaded Japan. Since then he's had lots of time to reflect on his service. And this day he's reflecting for posterity and for us as well.

"Duty is maybe the biggest word in the army...dress it up as the will of God...duty is what a man does...duty is what those who are to do...do," Wunderluck said.

The Veteran's History Project now has a collection of about 65,000 oral histories from veterans and they are accessible to the public through the project website, http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/.

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