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Veterans History Project

News


1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006


1997


1998

August 26, 1998
- Telephone conversation withCharles B. McVay IV
I telephoned Charles B. McVay IV at his home in Washington, DC on 26 August, '98 to discuss the activities we are undertaking. In summary, he felt that our efforts to influence the Navy are like spitting in the wind, but any efforts to gain support for H.R.3710 would be welcome. Mr. McVay recommended reading "Fatal Voyage" to obtain a better understanding of the sinking and the cover-up by the Navy. He said that a movie is being made based on the book. He recommended that we get as many supporters as possible to contact their Congressmen to urge support for H.R. 3710. - Donald Lee

December 15th, 1998
-
Captain McVay of the U.S.S. Indianapolis
The voters have spoken and our newly elected U.S. Congressman is Joseph M. Hoeffel, 3rd. His address is 1908 Lycoming Avenue, Abington, Pa 19001. Copies of our correspondense the "Charles Butler McVay and U.S.S. Indianapolis Relief Act", HR 3710, will be provided to him with a request that he support further action on this pending bill. Please consider writing to convey your interest in the matter.


1999

February 16th, 1999
- A Thank You to our Volunteers
Recognition should be given to those volunteers who have been and are helping to make the series a success:
· Alex Sutherland has "taken over" the videography and does a fine job.
· Alan Bickel provides security, ushering and general help in packing up.
· Al Pincus has written letters, located other speakers and operates a carpool.
· George Hinckley has provided security service and is available "as needed".
· Bob Dalzell and his wife, Bonnie, has undertaken the publicity task.


June 1st, 1999
-
LifeStory Magazine
The writer's Workshop for autobiographers, memoirists,journalers and family historians - can help to organize a writer workshop at Abington Library where we can help each other to put together our family history, including any war stories or other special events.

June 1st, 1999
- Naval History
A magazine by the United States Naval Institute - August 1998 issue. This issue has two articles about items discussed in prior WW II lectures. Kamikaze Decoy by George Hinckley and Timeline to Justice by Hunter Scott.


August 17th, 1999
- Recent 20/20 Program
You may have seen a recent 20/20 program that featured Hunter Scott who is pushing Congress to restore honor for the captain and crew of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. See article on page 47 of Aug. issue of Naval History and Joint House/Senate Bill. Write or call your congressman to show your support. Extra copies of the August Naval History magazine are available.

October 19th, 1999
-
Real Live Seabees are in our area
I spoke with Becky Felten in Senator Greenleaf's office about possible funding for the WWII Lecture series. In the conversation, she mentioned that the Seabee Veterans have an "Island" at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. I've made contact with the organization and expect to schedule some Seabee stories for sometime next year. They worked side-by-side with the Marines building airstrips and bases as the islands were being taken from the Japanese. Senator Greenleaf was instrumental in getting Senate Resolution No. 21 adopted on February 9th designating March 1999 as Seabee Month" in Pennsylvania. - Donald Lee



2000


2001

January 20th, 2001
- Joseph J. Landy has passed away
Joseph J. Landy of Doylestown, PA passed away on Saturday, January 20th, 2001 at Doylestown Hospital after having fought a heroic battle with a lengthy illness. He was 81. Click here to see his obituary. He spoke at the Abington Lecture Series in March 2000 about serving as the an aircraft chief aboard the USS San Jasinco.


2002

July 9th, 2002 - World War II Lecture Institute receives a senatorial citation
The World War II Lecture Institue receives a senatorial citation from Pennsylvania Senator Allyson Schwartz. Click here to see the citation.

June 18th, 2002 - The Parking Situation
The Library has experienced an increase in borrowing, attendance, and Internet use in recent months. Attendance at the WWII Lectures has also increased, resulting in problems in the parking lot. Parking in Fire Zone, which are marked by red or yellow paint is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated by the Library. We are here as guests of the Library and must therefore do what we can do to reduce the crowding in the parking lots. Wherever possible, please try to car pool or arrange to be dropped off and picked up after the lecture is over. Thank you - Donald Lee

June 18th, 2002 - A New Lecture Series has started
The new series is titled "The Preservation of America as Told by those who served." It will be held at the Foxchase VFW Post in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June 18th, 2002 - Last month's guest speaker Michael Bak
Last month's guest speaker Michael Bak is featured in the following books just recently released on the market: Carrier War by Paul Stillwell & Operation Iceberg by Gerald Astor. These books can be found at Barnes & Noble Book Store on Old York Road in Jenkintown, PA.

August 20th, 2002 - George Bruner has passed away
Mr. George Bruner of Hatboro, PA passed away at the beginning of the August. He was a U.S. Army Veteran of World War II, serving in the anti-aircraft service in Europe from 1944-1945. He was a regular attendee of the Abington WWII Lecture series every month and was looking foward to starting his own lecture series in Philadelphia, which was to begin in the fall of this year. His lecture series, which he titled "The Preservation of America as told by those who served," will be carried on in his honor.


2003

May 2nd, 2003 - The Church Door Canteen
The Church Door Canteen - 60th Anniversary. Click here to see photographs from this event.

May 20th, 2003 - Jack Enea
Jack Enea is a local singer/songwriter/guitarist. He performs in different coffee houses and such around the area. He has been attending the WWII lecture series for over a year now. If anyone here has a family member or close friend who is actively serving in the United States armed forces, Jack would like to send them one of his CD's free of charge. Please see him or his friend before you leave. He will need the troop's name, current address, as well as your name. Thank you.

May 20th, 2003 - "No One Lives For Himself" Memories: 1925-1945
Heinz Beck has approved of our translating his 30-chapter German biography into English and making it available for others to read. In 131 pages of text and figures, he tells the big picture of things that led to war, intertwined with his personal life story from birth to returning veteran. Check for his story on our website this summer.

July 28th, 2003 - Veterans in the Classroom
We are pleased to notify you of a new outreach effort by the World War II Lecture Institute. For the past 5 years, over 70 World War II veterans have spoken to audiences of almost 200 once a month at the Abington Public Library in Abington, Pennsylvania. They are now beginning a service to local high schools and middle schools. The veterans are pleased to share with students their personal experiences in World War II. The veterans, all local, include Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marines. Our first lecture will kick off on Veteran's Day 2003 at the new National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Please let us know what date and your needs (large assembly presentations or small classroom tables.) You are also invited to attend our Abington Lecture Series on the third Tuesday of the month at 3:00PM and 7:00PM at the Abington Public Library in Abington, Pennsylvania or to our Doylestown Lecture Series on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:00PM at the Bucks County Public Library in Doylestown, Pennsylvania to hear some of the men and women veterans who are interested in talking to local students. Please call Charlotte Goerlich at 215-887-2153 or Sheila Martin at 215-675-7504 for information or reservations.

September 16th, 2003 - Local Newspapers
Check the following newspapers for information about past and future programs at the Abington Public Library: Glenside Life, Glenside News, Philadelphia Neighbors Column, Philly News, and the Times Chronicle all contain information each month about the Abington WWII Lecture Series.

September 28th, 2003 - Preserving the legacy of WW II vets
I chatted with Donald E. Lee of Abington the other day. He and the other men and women associated with the World War II Lecture Series and the World War II Lecture Institute have been doing some valuable work. Don has coordinated the lecture series at the Abington Free Library for six years. A new lecture series has begun at the Bucks County Free Library in Doylestown. The Abington lectures are held the third Tuesday of the month at 3 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. The library is at 1030 Old York Road. The Doylestown series convenes on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The library is at 150 S. Pine St. The lectures are conducted by local World War II veterans. In effect they constitute an oral history of that desperate era when the fate of freedom hung in the balance. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are slightly more than 5 million living veterans of World War II. That's about half of the 10 million Americans who put on the uniform of the armed services. However, the numbers of the survivors have been dwindling at a rate of about 1,000 a day. The generation that lived through World War II has been called the greatest generation. Its members deserve that title. World War II itself has been called the last "good war." While there is nothing good about warfare, the conflict was a necessary struggle against palpable evil, a war that had to be fought. The loss of life and destruction surpassed anything the world had ever seen and hopefully will ever see again. To hear the stories of the ordinary citizens who endured extraordinary sacrifices in that global conflict provides an insight into the most critical event of the 20th century, if not of all time, that a history book cannot. That's what the World War II Lecture Institute is about. Its mission is to "preserve the legacy of our nation's World War II veterans by collecting their personal stories. We also want to make this legacy of World War II available to teachers and students of World War II history through the Internet and by direct interaction where possible." One of the things that excites Don Lee is the group's efforts to bring World War II veterans into local schools to share their experiences with students. Members hope to kick off the classroom series on or about Veterans Day, Nov. 11. More immediately, Lee has talked with administrators in the Hatboro-Horsham School District where teachers have been on strike. They are exploring the possibility that some veterans might visit the district's day camps during the strike to provide meaningful and educational discussions with students while they are out of the classroom. Lou Sessinger's column is published Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's also on the Internet at www.phillyburbs.com. He can be contacted at the Montgomery County office of The Intelligencer, 145 Easton Road, Horsham, PA 19044; phone (215) 957-8172; fax (215) 957-8165; e-mail, lsessinger@phillyburbs.com.

November 11th, 2003 - Veterans Day Program at the National Constitution Center
On Tuesday, November 11th, 2003, the World War II Lecture Institute was invited to the new National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to celebrate Veterans Day. Past Speakers Tony Zanzinger, Donald Lewis, Sheila Martin, Mike Stefanowicz, and Craig Schoeller each gave a short talk about their experiences during the Second World War. We were able to spread awareness of our program to residents of the Philadelphia area.

December 3rd, 2003 - Veterans in the Classroom Update
On Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003 the World War II Lecture Institutes Veterans in the Classroom Project visited Springfield High School. Representing the Abington World War II Lecture Series was Tony Zanzinger, Warren Kimmel, Sheila Martin and Mike Stefanowicz (all past guest speakers). Each veteran was given 20 minutes to speak. There were about 50 students, and all of the students seemed very attentive. The students were particularly eager to see Japanese samurai sword, which Mike brought with him. We will be returning to that high school in March 2004.


2004

February 27th, 2004 - Veterans in the Classroom Update
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, February 23rd, 24th, and 25th, the World War II Lecture Institute's Veterans in the Classroom Project visited Abington High School. Representing the Abington World War II Lecture Series were George Stiftinger, Warren Kimmel, Craig Schoeller, Tony Zanzinger, Sheila Martin, Jack Agnew, Carl Bove, George Hinckley and Ernie Brydon (all past guest speakers). We held four classes each of the three days we were at the high school. We received a very good response from the students, teachers and adminstartors at Abington High School.

May 14th, 2004 - Funding Needs
To date, approximately a dozen veterans have participated in the above presentations with considerable satisfaction being shown by the students in the participating schools. We would like to be able to reimburse the veterans participating in the presentations for their out-of-pocket expenses and possibly offer a small honorarium, particularly for those that are regular participants. Donations made to the WWII Lecture Institute, a National Heritage Foundation, can be specifically directed to the "Veterans in the Classroom" project, or they can be for general use in operating and expanding the services of the foundation. Donations can be by checks made out to the National Heritage Foundation (W2LI) or by going to the NHF website at www.nhf.org and specifying that the donation is for the WWII Lecture Institute. If necessary, contact Donald E. Lee at 215-659-5594 or by e-mail at donelee@prodigy.net.

May 15th, 2004 - World War II Seminar
The Old Baldy and Delaware Valley Civil War Round Tables of Philadelphia, along with the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania hosted a World War II Seminar entitled 1944 - Sixty Years After on Saturday May 15, 2004 at the Radisson Hotel on U. S. Route One in Trevose, Pennsylvania. The program ran from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. There were three panels consisting of three World War II veterans from the U.S. Army Infantry, U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Army Aircorp along with a keynote address by prominent World War II historian Dr. Thomas Childers of the University of Pennsylvania. Drawings were held raffling off three valuable prizes plus hundreds of dollars in door prizes were awarded to those in attendance. There were tables set up displaying World War II memorabilia and World War II book sales. There was also a continental breakfast, buffet lunch, and afternoon refreshments served. All proceeds went to the World War II Lecture Institute. We wanted to thank Mike Cavanaugh and all of his volunteers for the wonderful job that they did.

March 16th, 2004 - In Memoriam
We send our condolences out to the families and to the friends of the men listed below who attended our lectures here between 1997-2004 and have since passed away. Some of these men were veterans to their country; some of these men were fathers, grandfathers, and brothers. What they did in their lifetime will carry on through their friends and family members. God Bless these men, their friends, and their families - Ed Benecke, George Bruner, Arthur Cable, Bob Dalzell, Eugene Girer, Al Jones, Clayton Jones, Irv LaBov, Joe Landy, Bill Phillips, Sidney Salomon, Roberto Sergio, Donald Spurr, James Vanderslice, and Bill Williams.

June 17th, 2004 - Bus Trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC
On Thursday, June 17th, 2004 The bus will leave at 7:15AM from the pickup point across from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. The bus will return to the same point by 6:30PM. The cost is $25.00 per person. For details contact Mr. Jack Durkin at 215-674-1894. All are welcome!!

November 11th, 2004 - Veterans Day Program at the National Constitution Center
A total of twelve people from the WWII Lecture Series participated in the National Constitution Center special Veterans Day program for November 11th. Donald Lewis, Sheila Martin, Al Pincus and Joe Reeder participated in the scheduled programs at 10:30 and 11:30 AM, briefly telling their experiences during WWII and answering any questions. Joe Reeder provided two manikins attired in US Army Airforce and German Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot uniforms to draw attention to our table in the grand lobby where George & Lilian Abele, Jack Sky, June House, Mia Grecco and Betty and Donald Lee all "manned the table" to speak with visitors interested in knowing more about our program. Don and Ruth Lewis also helped at the table, providing scrapbooks about his Air Force/POW experience and two return visits to the village in the Tyrolean Alps where his plane was shot down during WWII.

November 16th, 2004 - Our Newest Volunteer
Joe Campbell, our newest volunteer, was responsible for working with the speakers in October and November to prepare the Power Point slide presentation used during the talks. He also worked with Karen Burnham, Abington Library Graphic Artist, in transferring the reservation system to the library. He plans to continue working with future speakers to provide audio-visual materials to support and enhance the lectures. His program support is sincerely appreciated.

November 16th, 2004 - Saluting World War II Veterans
A card "to all the WWII veterans at Abington Library" was received from Gloria Nolan in Bradenton, Florida . "A nation rose with pride to answer freedom's call. Some gave a year or two. So many gave their all."

November 16th, 2004 - Artists in World War II
Cecelia Barnett, Curator of the Carriage Barn Arts Center at Waveny Park, New Canaan, CT reports that the response has been unimaginable and overwhelmingly positive - from people of all ages. Aaron Elson attended the opening and was very complimentary about the show and pleased with the good turn out. "We continue to draw a crowd - mostly on Sundays. We had a successful oral history 'how-to' workshop but no actual program in place yet. The historical society in town is gearing up though, so I'm hopeful." Please note that info on the show is now available on the website www.carriagebarn.org. This site will eventually expand to include more info, bios, images, and the catalogue. For further information, contact Cecelia Barnett, Curator of the Carriage Barn Art Center, Telephone 203-969-7048 or by e-mail at cmb4ink@yahoo.com


December 13th, 2004 - Major General Hugh F. Foster Jr has passed away
Retired Maj. Gen. Hugh F. Foster, Jr. died December 13, 2004. He spoke to the WWII Lecture Series on March 19, 2002. His first assignment after graduating from West Point in 1941 was to devise a secret Indian vocabulary used to baffle the German Army by 17 Comanche "code talker"soldiers. On D-Dayin 1944, 14 Comanches were among the Allied troops landing in Normandy and used their language to relay messages over field telephones between the battlefield and divisional headquarters.
He left the code talkers after their initial training and spent the rest of the war in North Africa in 1943 and in Italy in 1944 and 1945. His Army career included teaching electrical engineering at West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, developing a data processing system and commanding the 1st Signal Brigade for a year in Vietman. Promoted to major general, Foster retired as commander of Fort Monmouth, N.J. in 1975. Services will be held Jan. 3 in the Old Cadet Chapel at West Point, N.Y., and he will be buried in the West Point Cemetery. The family will receive condolences from 3 to 5 p.m. Jan. 2 at Shelly Funeral Home, 1460 Easton Road, Warrington.

December 21st, 2004 - Brandon Traister's Mailing Address
Brandon Traister's mailing address is - Spc. Brandon C. Traister, A Co. 1-114th Infantry, Unit # 31530, APO AE 09833. He expects to be back in this area by next February. [His e-mail address is brandontraister@aol.com]


2005

January 18th, 2005 - Help our U.S. Soldiers and the Iraqi people
Any items collected at our lectures will be taken to Tom Murt for shipment to Iraq. Future contributions should be shipped as noted below. Here is a list of critically needed items suggested for donation to our soldiers serving in Iraq as well as for the Iraqi people. You can pack and mail them to 2LT Ebrina Conteh S-5 / Civil Affairs, OIF3, FOB SPEICHER, APO AE, ZIP CODE 09393.

Soldiers need: brown or black work gloves; Chap stick; dental floss; deodorant; disposable razors; powdered drink mix; haircutting items; headphones for CD players; fruit juices; mouthwash; nail clippers; neck gaiters; magazines; paperback books; shampoo; shaving cream; skin lotions; snack items; soap; toothbrushes and toothpaste; tuna fish (in foil envelopes) and white athletic socks.

Iraqi people need: new or used adult and children clothing; balls for playground use; candy; Chap stick; crayons and markers; deodorant; disposable razors; new or used dolls; gloves; hats; peanut butter; perfume bottle remnants; school items; shampoo; shaving cream; children and adult shoes; skin lotions; snack items; soap; socks; stuffed animals; toothbrushes and toothpaste; toys and trinkets.

January 18th, 2005 - Welcome Home
Brandon Traister has successfully completed his mission with the NJ National Guard to South Camp in Sinai, Egypt and is expected to be participating in our WWII Lecture Series for at least the next several months. He can be reached by phone at 856-296-9256 or by e-mail at brandontraister@aol.com. He plans to continue interviewing WWII veterans in the area.

February 18th, 2005 - New on the History Channel
Beginning Friday, Feb. 18, and for the next 26 weeks, the History Channel is presenting documentary series on the "Last Days (months) of WWII" highlighting what was happening in Europe and the Pacific during February to August, 1945. Several historians, ex-POWs, combat footage, etc. are featured. It should be an interesting series.

March 19th, 2005 - Second Annual World War II Seminar
The Delaware Valley and Old Baldy Civil War Round Tables of Philadelphia and the Civil War Round Table of Eastern Pennsylvania hosted the second annual World War II Seminar entitled "1945 - Sixty Years After" on Saturday, March 19th, 2005 at Williamson, Route 611, Horsham, PA. The Program Director, Mike Cavanaugh, will presented a check to the WWII Lecture Institute. We thank Mike and all the volunteers for their excellent work.

April 19th, 2005 - A Thank You for Thomas Murt
"Thank you very much to the many generous people who donated either money or in-kind items to be sent to US soldiers and the Iraqi people. The items have been packaged and sent to Iraqi villages north of Tikrit. Thank you and God bless you for your kindness and support. Know that your donations assist our U.S. soldiers serving in Civil Affairs to complete their missions." - Thomas Murt

June 21st, 2005 - Non-Profit Organization of the Year
The Eastern Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce has selected the Abington Free Library WWII Lecture Series as the "Non-Profit of the Year" and has asked Donald Lee to accept the award for the library at the Annual Awards and Induction Dinner on July 21, 2005 at Talamore at Oak Terrace country Club in Ambler. Both the Abington Free Library and the WWII Lecture Institute will have tables at the Awards Dinner.

June 21st, 2005 - Jack Agnew in Russia
Jack Agnew participated in a "Defeat of Facism" celebration in Russia with members of a program called "The Climate of Trust" designed to bring Russian and U.S. law enforcement officials, educators and community leaders together in a world-wide effort to combat hate and intolerance. A Russian delegation from the Stavropol and St. Petersburg regions attended the first Climate of Trust training in the Los Angeles area April 9-15, 2005. As part of the program, Jack Agnew and the Los Angeles Climate of Trust team traveled to Russia to continue their training to a larger audience. Since their trip to Russia coincided with the 60th anniversary of the defeat of facism in Europe, the Los Angeles team participated in a "Defeat of Facism" celebration in Russia. Jack was one of two World War II US veterans joining the Los Angeles Climate of Trust team. The other veteran was Larson Sakai from the 100 Infantry Battalion, 442 Regimental Combat Team.

June 21st, 2005 -
A "Thank You" Message from Thomas Murt
"Thank you very much to the many generous people who donated either money or in-kind items to be sent to US soldiers and the Iraqi people. The items have been packaged and sent to Iraqi villages north of Tikrit. Thank you and God bless you for your kindness and support. Know that your donations assist our U.S. soldiers serving in Civil Affairs to complete their missions." - Thomas Murt


2006

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