In honor of Veterans Day I bring you this inspiring story of Rishi Sharma, a young man who is dedicating his time and money to honor veterans of World War II by telling their stories.
Before I tell you more about Rishi, I must say “thank you!” to all veterans who have served this country.
I would also like to thank those in my family who have served. My spouse who served in the Army. My dad Melvin who served in the Navy during the Korean War. My uncle Dell who also served in the Navy during the Korean War. My brother who served in the Air Force. My nephew Jason who saw combat duty in Iraq as a Marine.
Fortunately all of my family members who saw combat duty came back alive, except for my mother’s cousin Terrence. Army 1st Infantry Division, he sacrificed his life to save his brothers by falling on a live grenade.
As you know, we are losing our World War II vets on a daily basis. As they pass on, we are losing their unique stories and wisdom, having been part the the “Greatest Generation”. Rishi Sharma has been fascinated with the experiences and stories of those who say action in WWII. He discovered the Library of Congress didn’t have a big collection of interviews from these veterans, so Rishi set out to do something about it.
ABC News in Los Angeles did one of their “Cool Kid” stories featuring Sharma and his mission.
Our ABC7 Cool Kid for Thursday, May 26, is Rishi Sharma, who helps veterans preserve history by creating an extensive collection of interviews.
Sharma grew up fascinated by the stories and experiences of those who fought in World War II.
“I definitely retained my admiration and respect for those guys. There is so much you can learn from them,” he said.
But he realized even the Library of Congress didn’t have an extensive collection of veterans’ interviews, so he formed a group and website called Heroes of the Second World War.
“We are an organization that finds veterans of WWII who saw combat. We film interview them and we still send a copy to the Library of Congress where it can be archived,” he said.
Besides sharing the stories with the world, Sharma wanted to make sure the families of the men had those interviews for themselves.
Many of the men have few, if any, family members left. They are alone. Sharma’s group also wanted to make sure they do not feel forgotten.
He wants their stories told and the men to be remembered – but most of all he wants them to hear the words:
“Thank you. Thank you so very much. You are a hero and please don’t forget that,” he said.
On his HeroesOfTheSecondWorldWar.org website, Rishi states his mission
As the founder of this organization, my personal mission is to try and meet as many WWII combat veterans as possible. My goal is to hold an in-depth interview with a combat veteran from WWII every single day before they are no longer with us. I want to absorb the gravity of their sacrifices and hardships, their knowledge, and their wisdom. Please help me in that journey.
Heroes of the Second World War’s mission is to film interview and recognize all the surviving veterans who saw combat in World War Two. Without these brave souls, the world would not have even be a semblance of what it is in the present time. The sacrifices that these men made are so incomprehensibly enormous that our minds cannot even grasp it.
By film interviewing these men (who are only now just starting to talk about their combat days), we are giving them an opportunity to share their last words with the world and their family. In a sense it is a living obituaryin which these heroic men can finally express what happened to them in World War Two.
I encourage you to visit Sharma’s site, sign up to his email list and donate to this great cause. We need more young people like Rishi Sharma who understand the sacrifices those who fought for this country have made. The stories of these World War II heroes are unique and we must not let them be lost forever.
Great job Rishi Sharma, you are in inspiration to us all!