In rural libraries across the nation, communities have come together to embrace their WWII heroes, as the clock ticks ever faster for this dwindling band of warriors.
|Navy veteran receives standing ovation|
From Tolono, Illinois to Leesburg, Florida, this past Veterans Day weekend has witnessed countless groups of library patrons join together to watch special screenings of a public television series on WWII. The American Road to Victory trilogy, a joint history project presented by filmmakers Livingbattlefield and The National Infantry Foundation is the conduit by which these groups can view the actions of their local veterans in context.
William Chiappini, a library director from Melrose Florida wrote of a recent screening of The Americans on D-Day,
“Our D-Day library program was held yesterday to the delight of all. Forty-three people attended (this is a small community), and four WWII vets were there in seats of honor. A local French lady from Normandy, who was 12 at the time of the invasion, also surprised us. She spoke after the film and gave a very heartfelt thanks for the sacrifices to save her country . . . . The program prompted a call for oral histories of our vets which we will turn over to Historic Melrose for follow-up. We look forward to showing the other two films in the future.”
“Rural Libraries have been the perfect vehicle for our Road to Victory initiative,"said Livingbattlefield’s Executive Director, Heidi Lanni, "While a small number of city library systems, such as Boston, have also been holding screenings, the real interest has come from the smaller libraries, where there seems to be more time to organize these events, and great passion for the subject.”
Livingbattlefield will continue their library outreach until 2014, the 70th anniversary of the three campaigns featured in the trilogy.
“Sadly, we are losing these amazing people at an alarming rate,” said Heidi, “ I don’t know how many will be with us by then, but library communities will continue to have the chance to participate in what must surely be their last hurrah . . . . No matter what direction your political compass is pointing, or how you feel about war, this program honors American heroes from the last clearly defined and unambiguous conflict.”
Livingbattlefield is a 501(c)3 charity and a partner with The National Infantry Foundation at Fort Benning Georgia. Libraries wishing to be a part of The Road to Victory project should contact Heidi Lanni: Heidi@livingbattlefield.org
Libraries which acquire a copy of The American Road to Victory trilogy for their collection automatically qualify for the free screening pack, which includes lifetime public performance rights, an intro video by the director, a how-to guide, as well as sample press releases and artwork.