Soldiers’ stories: Boy Scout to videotape veterans’ recollections

The men who served in America’s armed forces during World War II are often referred to as the Greatest Generation. However, it’s a member of our nation’s youngest generation that’s ensuring that these heroes’ stories won’t won’t be forgotten.

Ian Murphy, a member of Boy Scout Troup 87, will be videotaping the oral histories of Blount County World War II veterans as the highlight of his Eagle Scout Service Project. The purpose of the project: to preserve for future generations the firsthand accounts of the men who served their country both overseas and at home.

“I knew I wanted to do something patriotic for my Eagle project,” said Murphy, an eighth-grader at Maryville Middle School. “Then my mom and I read an article in the paper about how World War II veterans were passing away at the rate of 1,000 per day.”

Alarmed by the statistic, Murphy conceived the idea of videotaping area World War II vets and producing a DVD archive of the interviews.

Plans for the project currently call for one multidisk set of DVDs to be presented to American Legion Post 13, while the other will be donated to the Blount County Public Library.

In addition to the full-length interviews, Murphy will produce a highlights DVD of interview excerpts that will be screened during a Veterans’ Day event later this year.

In the meantime, he is currently earning the cinematography merit badge in order to sharpen his skills behind the camera and at the editing board.

Murphy, who must complete the project in order to achieve his Eagle Scout ranking, said he is now scheduling interviews with any Blount County World War II veteran who is willing to share his story on camera.

“We’ll be taping on four specific dates between mid-March and mid-May at different locations in Blount County,” he said. “We’ll tape for up to four hours each day, and each interview will last about 30 minutes.”

Any local World War II veteran interested in participating is asked to call 865-984-5988 to schedule a time on one of the four videotaping dates.

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