The soldiers who fought for the U.S. during World War II are considered "the Greatest Generation." Their numbers are shrinking, though, which prompted the MVM News Network to come up with a new way to honor them and so many others who have served their country.
"We wanted to do it before we lost the people who were there," said Cindy Iutzi, who is the editor of the Daily Gate City newspaper in Keokuk. "We wanted to do it before we lost folks who could give us an on-the-scene recollection."
"Answering the Call: A Tribute to Tri-State Area Veterans" is a 140 page, hardcover coffee-table book that was produced by the staffs of the Daily Gate City, the Daily Democrat in Fort Madison and the Hancock County Journal Pilot in Carthage. It is available for purchase at all three locations for $42.79.
The project began on Veterans Day, one year ago, when the newspapers announced that they would begin accepting submissions for the book.
"The response was overwhelming," said Lauren Zechin, coordinator for the Daily Gate City part of the project. "The unique thing about this book is that people of all ages and backgrounds were involved. Nearly everyone has someone in their family who served in the military, and everyone in the Tri-State Area was invited to be a part of the project.
Zechin said day after day, people would stop in bringing photos and memorabilia to be scanned and compiled. She said the veterans or their family members would also come in to share their stories.
"It was fascinating to hear local veterans recount facts and dates of various conflicts, where they trained, what they ate, how they communicated with loved ones at home, and, of course, the heartache and tragedy of war. It is amazing to me what these men and women went through to protect and defend their country. The fabric of our military is made up of people doing their part in every corner and branch of the service. Every veteran who answered the call deserves to be noticed," said Zechin.
"Answering the Call" features the stories of hundreds of local veterans who served from the Civil War to the present in every branch of the military. Every contributor was featured in the book.
"Every week, we print at least one veteran's obituary in our daily newspapers. There are fewer and fewer living veterans who experienced World War II and can sit down with us and describe what it was like to serve during that period in history. This project not only recognizes the contributions of our local veterans, but also records an important part of our area history."