Yes, they have war stories. Great stories, too.
As in past years, the Niles Library welcomed local veterans who have participated in the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project to a breakfast in their honor. Nearly 30 of them came to the Thursday event--the sixth annual breakfast-- and gathered onstage to briefly tell about their military service.
But those snippets were only a small peek at some dramatic stories. Neal O'Shea of the Niles Library has conducted taped interviews, since 2005, with more than 60 veterans, and transcripts--with photos and memorabilia--are permanently on display on the mezzanine level of the library.
Earlier: Gliding near enemy lines on D-Day
Members of the public are invited to read or listen to the transcripts online at www.nileslibrary.org/vhp. Those who are interested can also join in the conversation by reading or blogging at vhpanpld.blogspot.com.
“Today, we honor and thank our local veterans for providing us the freedom to read,” said Linda Weiss, Niles Library Director, to the veterans.
Chris Hanusiak, President of the Friends of the Niles Library and a veteran, congratulated the special guests. Weiss also announced a donation of $500 from the Niles Library and the Friends of the Library to the Honor Flight Chicago Program.
Veterans also were treated to a performance of songs popular during the World War 2 era, by the tribute group Legacy Singers.
From left to right in the first row (bottom) are: Bernard Warchol, Robert Morris, Walter Tymczuk, Niels H. K. Larsen, Leonard Di Fabio, Matthew Wojtaszek, Jack Weinberg, Irv Blaszynski (sitting on stage) Dr. Irwin Williger, Irving Abramson, Al Lee, and Art Shapiro. 2nd row (middle) from left to right are: Milton Langer, Robert Lavery, Ray Rich, Matthew Potaczek, Tom Vana, Richard Vana, David Spitzer, and Al Komar. 3rd row (top) from left to right are: Sam Schechter, Chuck Jacobs, Mike McNulty, John Bugajsky, Dr. Jerry Levin, Judith Carlson for Norman Berkman, and Russell Zapel. Photo taken by: Sasha Vasilic