Veterans History Project - The Fishers Tell Their Story
Preserving Veterans' Service and Stories
"I've been trying to get him to do this for years!"
Betty Fisher had a big smile and tears in her eyes as she accompanied her husband, Leonard, to his storytelling session.
"I really wanted this so much for the kids, and the grandkids
. He doesn't talk about it much, but when he does,
he has all these funny little stories that crack everybody up. I'm hoping his personality comes through."
Leonard and Betty were taking part in the Veterans History Interview Event, on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Pittsboro, NC.
Leonard and Betty had been married 68 years. Leonard had served in the Navy for a couple of decades. Betty wanted to be sure
that their family had a tie to all that time, with a real sense of what their lives had been like for all those years.
Betty tried everything - buying her husband journals, finding instructions on "how to write your life story," asking
him to write down his memoirs. Years went by and it just seemed like too much trouble. Leonard wasn't sure he had all
that much to say.
And then, one day, the minister of their church sent the couple an email and said she thought they might be interested
in hearing about the Veterans History Interviews. Leonard gave me a call, and told me he "had some interesting stories to tell."
He sure does.
Leonard joined the Navy in 1937, coming out of the Depression Era, when jobs were hard to find. He didn't plan on making
it a life-time career - in fact, he was discharged and signed up again quite a few times over the years
The places he
served reads like a history book: Pearl Harbor. Midway. Korea. But his personal account speaks of things I've never seen
on the History Channel.
Leonard had taken part in the retreival of gold bullion that the crew stashed in the brig for its journey home.
His ship had been used as target practice by the Japanese, with torpedos scuttled under its hull two years before Pearl Harbor.
He'd helped his captains avert disaster in dangerous mine fields. Ships in front and behind his were bombed. And he had his
share of difficult commanders and unfortunate tours of duty.
But Leonard didn't dwell on depressing aspects. He focused on interesting occurrences, funny anecdotes, and his own personal
conviction about serving his country.
Betty also had a fascinating story to tell, about life back home in the States. Leonard proposed via telegram.
For years, they mostly saw each other through packets of letters that took a while to catch up. They had two sons that Betty
raised for the most part on her own, with help from her parents.
But Betty never faltered in her acceptance that Leonard was
doing what he needed to do. She usually didn't know where his ships were heading. And she rarely knew when he would come home.
But her memories also concentrated on the positive aspects of the 20 years he served, as she urged him to retell stories she'd
heard him relay throughout the years, so that others could imagine what those times were like
Their stories are now permanently recorded on DVD for their families to enjoy. They're also public records and will be stored
at the National Archives, thanks to the National Veterans History Archival Institute and their volunteers and partners.
We're helping the NVHAI capture history and create video recordings that will become part of your family's history. I cannot
tell you how fascinating it is to hear real people tell their real stories - giving all of us a sense of what was really
happening in America's history.
We're very proud and honored to be a part of this process. It's free for veterans and their families, and a copy of the
recording can be provided for each family member.
More than just gathering stories, we're also trying to help reconstruct records.
Millions of military records burned
during a 1973 fire, and more were lost during Hurricane Katrina.
This has caused a lot of problems for veterans who seek medical help, or their families who are seeking military burials.
The kind of information we're helping gather is helping piece those records back together.
When service members share their commendation, orders and awards, they not only ensure that their own records remain intact,
but also help provide information for others who served with them. Digital photographs are taken of each record, which go
into a local and national database.
Interviews are open to any member of the Armed Forces, war or peacetime, from any period.
Whether you know someone who
served in Iraq just weeks ago, or who served in WWII decades ago, encourage them to call us today and schedule an interview
Or attend the next
Veterans History Interview Event
- email info@StantonHomes.com or call us at 919-278-8070 for more information.
Click here to read about “Stanton Homes® for Heroes” - One of the nation’s largest military and veteran programs offering
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