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Jul 20, 2010 5:06 PM by Kate Mundy

WWII Vets Document War Experiences in Lafayette

Norris Gwin was just 18 years old when he experienced real fear, the kind only those going off to war can experience. "You're on the end of that ship and you're watching the U.S. go away from you and you sort of wonder if you're gonna get back or not," said Gwin.

Now 85 years old, Gwin is sharing his wartime experiences with local high school students. "It's an experience I'll never forget," said Gwin.
St. Thomas More juniors Kaitlynn Walker and Rob Quiring are taking notes and getting video as part of the national campaign "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive."

"It's a lot of fun, you hear a whole lot of interesting stuff and we had a guy come talk to us yesterday that worked right near General Patton," said Walker.

"I would never learn any of this stuff if I wasn't doing this," said Quiring. Some veterans kept artifacts from 1945, and shared them with their teenaged interviewers. One man brought an old knife, another had a 65 year old lighter.

Besides documenting stories, "Keep the Spirit of '45 Alive" is hoping to make August 14th a national holiday to remember the end of the war.

"It's a long time coming, because there hasn't been anything like that before, I think it's a good idea," said WWII veteran Bob Mathis. Mathis shared his story Tuesday morning, about being on the only U.S. Aircraft Carrier to sink in the Atlantic Ocean during the war.

Interviews will continue Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at American Legion Post 69 on Surrey Street in Lafayette.

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