Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, only about 300,000 are still alive today. Jeff Rease made his lifetime goal to immortalize as many of them as possible
They are the men and women of the greater generation, who in their teens stormed the shores of Normandy on D-Day, who fought bravely at the Battle of Bullge, who cared for the wounded aboard Navy ships, and who lived to report on the bombing of Pearl Harbor since April 2019, Rease took photos of 103 veterans, mostly in Alabama and a few in other states, for his online project, Portraits of Honor since he began, seven of those have died, three of them in the past two months
“They all have a story,” says Reese, who works as a freelance photographer in Birmingham. “I enjoy seeing their faces as they remember. Most of them remember times of the time better than the last days.”
His subjects were 18 to 22 years old when they left high school or jobs in the coal mines or factories or farms and went to war. Some of them were younger and now they are in their 90s and some are over 100. Someone told Rease how he joined at age 14. , His 6-foot, 200-pound tire convinced recruits he was bigger than him When his mother realized he was gone, she wrote a letter to the President and he was brought home from Europe in a few weeks, joined the Navy, then the Merchant Navy, and ended up with a long military career.
Project Rease began when he learned about a 99-year-old veteran living near him on the outskirts of Birmingham, U o retired Marine Corps Colonel Karl Cooper after Rice posted photos of Cooper on his Facebook page, dressed as a Marine and all his medals, seen by a friend. He asked Rice if he could make a similar picture of his father in Daphne. Rice was happy to do so, and one of the paintings led to another.
He contacted the Alabama veterans’ homes and the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, and compiled a list of surviving veterans he says, « Everyone was very cooperative. » When calling veterans, most of them were keen to be part of a Rease project that travels into their homes, setting a background Simple and lit, chatting and comforting with them and their families, some still proudly wear uniforms and upload photos of themselves younger others wear casual suits or clothing Rease puts his iPhone on a platform and records while asking veterans to talk about their service
“They have some great stories,” he says, “Almost everyone is eager to talk. When some say their role was not a magician, I tell them that they all contributed to winning the war.”
Some memories are more sentimental than others, such as a veteran who spoke of the liberation of a concentration camp who told a B-17 pilot of parachuting from his plane after being shot down over France, pulling his cleft rope at 3,000 feet with a jolt so powerful that it knocked down his combat boots He was then rescued by farmers and hidden from the Germans for eight weeks. Still the last one of the last remaining « brotherhoods ». Rice told his dramatic story of his parachute landing in German-occupied France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, with his company Easy Company
Rice has a familial relationship with the military, as his father was an army paratrooper in the Korean War, and his brother and son served in the Marines. His uncle died in World War II while serving in the Coast Guard when his destructive escort was struck by a German submarine.
“Meeting these veterans and talking to them, and turning into true friends, makes it more real for me,” he says, “Especially when you hear it straight from their mouths, I have more respect for the sacrifices they have made”
Rease continues to travel into state and out of state to film veterans, working within the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, he says, « Those who are in nursing homes I cannot go to. »
Give each veteran a large copy of his / her photo and interview video.
is considering the idea of publishing a picture book, and even then, its website remains an honor everyone can see at www pics of honor We also have links to video interviews on Rease’s YouTube channel if you know a WWII veteran and would like Rease to film it , You can reach him through the contact page on his website
It landed on Omaha Beach with a U-o-S Army Tank Recovery Unit about 10 days after its landing and initial invasion earned five Combat Service Stars for its participation in combat including in Normandy, the Battle of Bollge and the Rhineland, and the French Legion of Honor for his heroic participation in the liberation of France during His service in World War II, Hayhurst was a platoon sergeant, but by the end of the war he was assigned the rank of lieutenant general as he served in the Korean War Hayhurst became a professor at Auburn University, where he helped establish the Department of Political Science, and was the mayor of Auburn for four years under his command, Received a $ 600,000 federal grant for urban renewal used to improve the streets of downtown Auburn A sign for this project is in Toomer’s Corner In November 2018 Hayhurst and a former student traveled to France and toured the Five Allied Landing Sites (information provided by author Martha Paul Simmons in the journal The Alabama Gazette) now lives in Millbrook, Alabama.
Age 101, is the oldest surviving soccer player at the University of Alabama, as he helped the Tide team win the National Championship in 1942 before joining the Army after graduation, stationed in Europe for 60 days, was shot in the hand in field combat, After being hospitalized in England, he was diagnosed with a broken back. He told Jeff Rees in a video interview: “They said,“ The war is over for you. ”“ Alhamdulillah! ”Salz has a master’s degree in physical education from Alabama and a doctorate in education from the University of New York, then became the principal soccer coach at Jacksonville State University from 1946 to 1964, winning three ball games and seven conference titles in 1995 he wrote a book titled « How to Live and Love to Become 100 » He now lives at the Bay Minute Veterans’ House.
The first veteran portrayed was Jeff Rees for the Portraits of Honor Project, Cooper, who grew up in countryside in Chilton County, joined the Soldiers in 1942 and served 38 years in the Marines and among his Choir Merit Medals and Choir Merit Medals after his training camp on Paris Island, training In North Carolina, Quantico, Virginia, and Camp Pendleton, California, he boarded a ship bound for Guadalcanal and fought in the Battle of Okinawa, after which his unit moved to Guam to prepare for the invasion of Japan, until the dropping of two atomic bombs and the surrender of Japan ended the war. Cooper was called up again for active duty during the Korean War, serving in artillery and infantry, and during the Vietnam War, he worked mostly in training and recruiting in Washington, D.C and California later worked in education and training, working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he lives in the suburbs of Birmingham, where he celebrated his 100th birthday in March 2020 and appeared on local TV news programs, still pruning his yard and tending his garden.
She was born in Bismayr in 1924 and raised on a farm in Greensboro, where she learned nursing skills while caring for her father, who was wounded in World War I. She graduated from nursing school in 1944 and became an army nurse in 1945, three days after she turned 21 while working. In a hospital in Fort Defense, Massachusetts, she cared for General George Patton, and later at Lockburn Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio, she was assigned to Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots to serve at UO Army After the war ended, she continued her nursing career at Virginia Medical Center in Birmingham and started a health and wellness center in her church in 2012, yos re / count Terry Sewell offered a price with a Congressional gold medal Read more about her life at wwwDiscoverstclaircom / Remembering- Old / a-life -of-firsts /
It will be
100 on New Years Eve. Originally from Moody, then Odenville, Alabama, Moore now lives in Andalusia to be closer to one of his sons who served in the Navy and the « Secret Blue Collar War », where the Navy used floating dry docks to repair damaged ships. At sea, instead of waiting for ships to be towed back to Hawaii or California for repair
From County Clay was one of the first soldiers to land on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day in 1944 as part of the 1st Infantry Division Once the front landing door fell on the Higgins boat, heavy German machine gun fire began to ignite his comrades as they descended into Water Many died right in front of the boat, so the rest started jumping over the sides instead he told Jerry C. “We had a life-saving object called Mae West around our waist.” Smith from Discover St. Claire, in 2018 “was supposed to float under our armpits. When you fill them with air, but because we were so loaded with so many things, they couldn’t do it and just hung around our waists a lot of men died with their feet sticking out of the water because all that ammo, grenades, and backpacks kept them from floating upright.Priestridge, 19, survived, and remained alone in France until Europe was liberated after the war. Priestridge returned home, married, worked at Dewberry Foundry and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind in Talladega, now lives at VA Home in Belle
He grew up in Kanye Creek in Rural Shelton County near Clanton. He left high school for logging, then joined the Army as a doctor in 1940, his only medical training as an assistant veterinarian in Chilton County He witnessed activity in North Africa and Sicily, and won the Silver Star of Courage when he was 24 years old, he was sent to England to lead a team of doctors, and was among the thousands who arrived in Normandy on June 6, 1944 injured in the arm and leg, but kept pushing Forward, to help his men, until the ramp of Higgins’ boat fell on his back, crushing his spine in two places he recovered in a hospital in England, next to his brother Bill the highly decorated veteran now lives in North Carolina and has returned to Normandy several times, most recently in 2019 about At the age of 98, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landing, the town raised a plaque on the concrete slab where his unit housed the wounded, calling it a « ray rock. » « Lambert tells his story in his diary, » Every hero man: D-Day diary, first wave on Omaha Beach and a World at War « co-authored with Jim DeFelice
World War II, Veteran
World News – United States – Pictures of Honor: Veterans of World War II in Alabama – Alabama NewsCenter
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