Soldiers' Stories: Giving veterans a voice - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Soldiers' Stories: Giving veterans a voice

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Every day, 740 World War II veterans die, but one Rhode Island program is trying to preserve their stories and their voices so that they live on for generations.

Four years ago, Janet Butler lost her father, but even now she can still hear him. 

"He was 6 weeks shy of turning 88."

Two months before her father, Jerome Logan, lost his final battle to cancer, his voice was captured on CD describing another fight in World War II.

"I got to Los Angeles, Port of Los Angeles," Jerome Logan says on CD. "66 days later..."

An Army Air Force veteran who served in Burma, he had plenty to say, and because of a program at the Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, someone to tell.

"Burma was two wars in itself, we were only involved in one of them," Logan says on the recording.

"His voice was a little weak, but I think he spoke 2 CDs worth," Butler said. 

They call it Soldiers' Stories. When a veteran's time is about to run in, volunteers run in, armed with nothing more than a recorder and time to listen.

"When I heard his voice, I jumped," Butler said. "It was very touching."

By the time Janet got to hear some of the finished product, her father had already passed on.

"It gave me some solace to know, he got to take center stage at the end."

It not only leaves an impact on those who get to press play, but also those who walk into rooms at the hospice and press record.

"It was incredibly powerful," Bobbi Wexler of the Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island said. 

Her volunteers ask the questions and record the answers. She says for a lot of the veterans, it is a way to go back, and every now and then, a story leads to a surprise. 

"They've disclosed that they were in particular battles or won certain awards and the family wasn't aware of any of it," Wexler said. 

Butler does not know if any surprises await on the recordings of her father. Four years later, she still has not been able to listen past the first few minutes. She takes peace in knowing that when she is ready to listen, her father's voice is waiting.

"It may be hard to listen to the tapes," Butler said. "But he is not forgotten."

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