Since spring, residents of the Greater Heights, Oak Forest, Garden Oaks and the surrounding neighborhoods have shuffled through boxes, drawers and attics for photos and memorabilia related to military service.
The Leader asked for these items as part of a book project called “Our Veterans.”
“Our Veterans” is a hardbound book that features many photos and stories about veterans who live or have lived in The Leader’s coverage area. It will arrive in The Leader office in a few days.
“The concept for this book began last spring. We felt like there was a treasure of information in this area and many would be able to contribute photos,” said The Leader’s Robb Reeves, who helped coordinate the project. “They did contribute and we have been able to bring the community a beautiful book that captures patriotism and service to country. We also received support from Allegiance Bank on this project and we have enjoyed a great relationship with them for several years now.”
All of the photos included in this book were submitted by the veteran themselves or by family or friends, either by email or coming into the office.
“It’s such a humbling experience to meet some of the veterans who came in with their photos,” said Zarah Parker, book editor. “I was able to shake hands with at least one World War II vet and many Korean War vets. The pride they had for their service was evident when they shared their stories.”
The photo submissions included men and women who served in the U.S. military from World War I to present time, in war and in peacetime.
While the book is primarily pictorial, “Our Veterans” includes full stories on select veterans. One story tells the tale of a boy who got drafted during World War II and fought in the Pacific Theater. Many times the bullets came close to hitting him, but he survived and was shipped back home in the winter of 1945.
Another story centers on a Korean War veteran who signed up for the military at just 16 years old so he could follow in the footsteps of his older brothers who served in World War II.
Veterans who were included in “Our Veterans” but didn’t serve during wartime are spotlighted as well.
“One of my favorite submissions came from a man who went into the service right after the Korean War,” Parker said. “He came in and told me that even though he didn’t go to war, he was still extremely proud of his service.”
“Our Veterans” gave residents a reason to break out the photos of their self in uniform, or sons and daughters to honor a parent for their service. This project gave way for these photos to be remembered, honored and appreciated.
“Our Leader staff did tremendous work,” Reeves said. “Their work combined with the contributions of our readers has resulted in ‘Our Veterans.’ ”
You can get your own copy of “Our Veterans” by going online at https://theleadernews.com/our-veterans, by calling 713-686-8494 or by stopping at The Leader office at 2020 N. Loop W. Ste. 220.