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Help tell stories of greatest generation

Memorial Day has come and gone … well on the calendar. But in the hearts and minds of all veterans, every day is Memorial Day. We will never forget those who fought in so many wars to help keep us all free. God bless them all.

But my reason for writing is to tell you about another memorial … a living memorial. Our VFW Post 9573 is proud to be the project manager for an incredible program: The Mississippi World War II Veterans History Project.

We are blessed that the Mississippi Humanities Council has agreed to fund a second round of interviews with World War II veterans. This is a significant accomplishment for the project. In the first round, recently completed, 27 World War II veterans’ histories were recorded forever, many on video. Sadly, though, we have missed some World War II veterans. They have passed on to their great reward.  We don’t need to miss anymore.

Your help is needed. We need to find World War II veterans throughout our area. And, we need financial support to supplement the limited resources of the Mississippi Humanities Council grant.

First, if you are, or you know of someone who is a World War II veteran, we need to hear from you. You can call our project coordinator G. Mark LaFrancis at 601-442-0980 or email at gmarklafrancis@hotmail.com. Mark is a veteran and son of a World War II veteran, and he is extraordinarily dedicated to this project. Mark’s father was a World War II veteran.

Also, you may request memorials be sent in honor of a veteran of any war to help with this project. One generous family did that recently, helping us to expand the number of veterans we interviewed beyond what the grant funding allowed.

Next, you may send a tax-deductible contribution to the project to our VFW Post 9573 c/o 16 Verucchi Road, Natchez, MS 39120 with the notation WWII Project. I guarantee you the money will be used wisely.

We have interviewers here in our area and across Mississippi who are doing a terrific job.

The audio interviews will be donated to the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, where they can be accessed by researchers, interested parties and those interested in hearing first-hand from World War II veterans.

Additionally, videos will be given to the nonprofit Witness To War, for that organization’s web site. Our team also plans to create documentaries that will appear on the Home With Heroes YouTube Channel. LaFrancis is president of that nonprofit foundation based in Natchez. Many other uses for these great veterans’ stories are in the works.

Sadly, though, too many of our “Greatest Generation” veterans have passed on without our hearing their great stories. Please help us both find and preserve their great contribution to world history.


Donnie Verucchi is a veteran and quartermaster for VFW Post 9573 in Natchez.