Veterans Heritage Project Book Signing, in Oro Valley


I went to the event Sunday for the book signing for this year’s Veterans Heritage Project book, from Ironwood Ridge High School, and it was wonderful, as always. Last year, I didn’t get to go, as I was meeting up with my daughter and her husband, in Taos, for Mothers’ Day, but this year we were home, so I was able to get there.

One of the original students was back from college to speak at the event. Molly is a wonderfully talented and dedicated young woman, who, along with other friends, were the first group of students here in Oro Valley, to compile enough interviews to put into book form for VHP.

Last year, my dad, Frank Garlington, a Veteran from WWII days, was in the book, and I will always be grateful that I got to interview him for that. We heard things none of us kids had EVER heard before. It was great, just spending the time, listening to him…he was always kind of taciturn, so it was a real treat for me. I couldn’t write up the interview though…I couldn’t edit it down to a manageable size! So, one of the Ironwood Ridge High School students and her electronics engineer Dad worked on it, and did a great job.

This year there were a wonderful group of Veterans there at the book signing, with Veterans from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Somalian conflict, and the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan all represented by the stories of those Veterans in this year’s book.

Each student who interviewed a Veteran, presents their Veteran, telling a bit about their interviewee, and then the Veteran is honored/applauded. At the end of the introductions of all the Veterans present, they are asked to go sit at tables which are arranged around the edges of the very large room, and those of us who bought this year’s book, walk around and meet each Veteran, and have them sign our books. It is always a very moving time…and sweet. Their hands must be very tired by the end of the day, as many books were signed.

I will have the book I bought at our First Saturday table at the Heirloom Farmers Market in Oro Valley, up off Oracle Road, at the Steam Pump Ranch, on the first Saturday of each month…barring it being too hot, or too windy, etc! We are usually there on the first Saturday of each month, though, so feel free to come and check out the last several years of the books. A copy of each interview(the video tape of the entire interview) and the book for each year, are sent to the Library of Congress for inclusion in their archives, where they will be preserved from this time on.

More and more high schools in the Tucson area are doing this project, and some are even making it into a formal class, as part of the history curriculum during the regular class time each year. I cannot think of a better way for students to really understand our history and how our involvements around the world have affected the men and women who have been in those conflicts.

So, come see the books. You can buy a book…I can give people the contact info on how to acquire one, and can also hook up anyone who is a Veteran, who might like to be interviewed.

These young men and women are very good at what they do, and are sensitive to the boundaries that a person may want to put on how and what they choose to tell, but they are also ready and willing to hear what ever is ready to be told.

It is quite an amazing thing to be part of and to see happening.

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