Veterans Spotlight project ends, participants thanked
With the recent publication of our 50th article, the Ronan VFW Post 5652 Veterans Spotlight project, proposed by Post Historian Dwayne Hofschulte, has ended. We thank the Valley Journal for generously providing space for our articles over these many months beginning in May of 2017.
It was my privilege to get to know these veterans as we went through the interview process. Several shared photo albums and newspaper clippings while others had little tangible evidence of their service time. I used Google constantly to get the spelling for foreign and unheard of places. I learned a whole new vocabulary, much of which was alphabet soup.
Some veterans went back into the past to remember and talk about things they had not spoken of or even thought about for a long time, if ever. Many of the memories were emotional and laid bare the human side of wearing the uniform. There is nothing more moving than a soldier’s tears.
They all remembered vividly the day they enlisted or were drafted and the day they were discharged. Some experienced horrible events, which they mercifully edited out of their stories. Many shared stories of pranks and funny events. None of them considered themselves heroes or doers of extraordinary things. With humility they talked of missions, wounds, hardship and camaraderie. They rarely talked of medals or awards and then only with interviewer prompting. Some questioned the decisions of our government, but all expressed a sense of the importance of service to country, recommending that young people today consider some form of military service.
While in the military, each veteran’s life changed – sometimes for good, sometimes not. We thank the members who agreed to share some of their stories and experiences with you. Some VFW post members chose to keep their thoughts and memories to themselves and not be interviewed or published, and we respect that.
We also want to give thanks for their service to the many veterans who belong to other VFW posts or other veterans’ organizations and to those who do not belong to any particular group at all. They also have stories to tell.
Daphne Hofschulte, interviewer and writer
(Editor's note: The Valley Journal would like to publicly acknowledge Daphne for the countless hours of work and dedication it took to tell the stories of 50 veterans these past two years. Many have enjoyed reading your spotlights, our staff included. Thank you, Daphne.)