C-SC students to interview veterans, show documentary for history project

Posted: Apr. 24, 2013 8:49 am Updated: May. 15, 2013 9:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

CANTON, Mo. -- About 25 Culver-Stockton College students are embarking on a quest to get an inside view on what life was like for Americans during World War II.

The students are interviewing soldiers who served in the war, people who were children at the time, spouses and siblings who waited anxiously for loved ones to return from the war zone, and others on the home front who felt the war's impact as it raged half a world away.

The students will share their findings during an exhibition May 4 that coincides with a public screening of the national documentary, "Honor Flight."

The exhibition will begin at 2 p.m. and the movie at 3 p.m. in the Alexander Campbell Auditorium in the Robert W. Brown Performing Arts Center. Both events are free and open to the public.

The 90-minute "Honor Flight" film tells about the national movement to fly aging World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II memorial built in their honor in 2004.

The Honor Flight movement, which has volunteers and participants in the Tri-State area, started in Wisconsin several years ago. The documentary, which focuses on four World War II veterans from Wisconsin, premiered last August at Miller Park baseball stadium in Milwaukee, where a world record was set when more than 28,000 people turned out to watch the film's debut.

D'Ann Campbell, a history professor at C-SC, is coordinating the student history project and the showing of the documentary as part of her three-week "Women in History" class that starts today.

Campbell has made arrangements for students to interview a variety of area residents who either served in the military during World War II or whose lives were touched by the war in some way. These include people who were children or college students during the war, several people who worked as nurses and a couple who had just gotten married before the war broke out.

Campbell also made arrangements for the students to interview more than 20 residents at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. In addition, a dozen older members of Immanuel United Methodist Church in Canton, Mo., agreed to be interviewed to share their recollections of life in America during the war.

"What I'm trying to explain to the students is World War II was a total war," Campbell said. "It didn't matter if you were a child -- you were consumed by this with the rationing and taking savings bonds to school. My hope is students will get a much better understanding" of the war's impact on the nation.

Campbell said students will create posters offering some insights from the people they will interview. Those posters will be displayed during the exhibition. In addition, the Missouri National Guard and the Illinois Veterans Home have agreed to provide some war-related displays for the event.

Campbell said combining the exhibition with the free public showing of the "Honor Flight" documentary will serve two purposes: She said the film will bring awareness about the contributions of veterans, while the exhibition will feature "our own local heroes and heroines -- and not just people who served in the military."