Friday marks the 77th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the event that tipped the scales and brought the United States into World War II. Sixteen million Americans served in World War II — more than 300, 000 from Wisconsin.
But the youngest people who fought in World War II are already 90 years old, and their first-hand stories are fast disappearing. Milwaukee journalist Mark Concannon has been among a group of people working to make sure the stories of Wisconsin veterans — of all wars — are preserved.
Concannon’s latest project has been to take many of these stories he’s compiled through the Veterans Story Project and turn them into a book. It’s called Mettle and Honor: Wisconsin Stories from the Battlefield. Concannon says doing the interviews was a moving experience for everyone involved, especially the oldest veterans.
“I think that these folks — they felt like they really needed to get something on the record,” Concannon says. “They understood that their time was short, they’re in their '90s, and they really felt the need to get that story out there.”
Concannon will talk about Mettle and Honor: Wisconsin Stories from the Battlefield and the Veterans Story Project at Boswell Book Company on Friday evening.