This project has changed my outlook on the soldiers that served drastically. While not all of them may have been KIA or gone missing, the experience of war is something no person will ever forget, whether on the homefront or the battlefield. The vast amount of people that sacrificed in large world events like World War II make it easy for individuals to go unnoticed and forgotten. Each person's personal journey to accepting that being a soldier means sacrificing a certain level of safety to defend our national interests, and it is a journey not many are willing or able to take. This means that we should cherish those we've lost all the more. It is dangerously easy to reduce people down to just another number in the millions who died to support our country but we should not let that happen. This is why it is so important that we research and spread the information we can locate to create a cohesive picture of many people's experiences in WWII and beyond.
If I was able to meet my soldier I'd ask how it was that he saw and understood what the U.S. was up against and still had such mental stamina that he fought anyways. I would ask him for more information on his experiences up until his death and the story of how he died so I would be able to tell others. I would tell him that his sacrifice has not been in vain or forgotten and that more and more people will learn about him in the coming years.
My most crucial source was Ancestry.com simply because of the millions of records stored there and their amazing search engine, I found much of my information about Kilgore from there. The census was especially enlightening, since it revealed so much about his home life.
This project has redefined gratitude in my life by giving me a more raw look into the personal life of someone whose name I would not have thought twice about when reading from a WWII casualty list. Every soldier has their story and while we may not be able to honor each one individually in my lifetime, no one will ever forget the everlasting impact their sacrifices had on our everyday lives.
Troops celebrate Victory in Europe Day.
Carlisle High School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania