Missouri veterans’ stories to be archived for the public

April 26, 2018

There are many veterans who have a story to tell, and some who think they don’t. But the Missouri Veterans History Project wants a record of them all.

On this Veterans Day, they conducted 30 minute taped interviews of as many Missouri Veterans as they could line up. The interviews will be archived for future generations.

Sitting in front of the camera, telling his story about serving in the Navy during World War II brought back memories of reunions with naval comrades. The last one was 15 years ago when Tony Margherio last wore his vest with patches of every reunion.

“They actually had to stop the reunions because the attendance was low,” said Margherio.

Only one other person on his patrol torpedo boat is still alive. But now, Margherio’s sharing his story with the Missouri Veterans History Project. The 30 minute interview will be archived with The State Historical Society and the Library of Congress. It’s his life’s story, from his youth to his time at war.

“You just had to go where the enemy was and try to get the enemy,” said Margherio.

And then he tells the story about his life after World War II.

The Missouri Veterans History Project, operated by an army of volunteers, has a special goal from last Veterans Day to this one.

“A year ago we made a commitment that said we would like to record 111 stories by November 11,of 2011, ” said State Representative Jill Schupp, (D)-Creve Coeur.

And they want to recruit more volunteers and more veterans who want their stories archived and made public for generations.

Former Marine David Eastham says he has one of the stories rarely told in the media, but believes his message needs to be heard. He did not serve during war time. He was a proud marine trained for combat, disappointed he did not get that chance to go to Beirut in 1983 after the deadly attack on the marine barracks.

“What made it worse was the marines were digging out their dead bodies of their friends, going through the rubble to find guys that were still alive and they’re being shot at by sniper fire,” said Eastham.

And Eastham wants to remind people of the role peace-time veterans play in our world.

“Just because you didn’t go to war doesn’t make you less of a hero,” said Eastham.

If you are a military veteran who wants to share your story, or if you want to volunteer to be an interviewer or organize a community effort, contact the Missouri Veterans History Project at 573-522-4220.

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