Students and veterans will lead West Virginia University in a moving “Salute to West Virginia World War II Heroes in History.”
The public is invited to the tribute, featuring oral histories collected by WVU education students and an award-winning documentary produced by a faculty member in the P.I. Reed School of Journalism.
The series of special events begins at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 – the day before Veterans Day – in the Erickson Alumni Center ballrooms.
Accompanied by West Virginia World War II vets, College of Human Resources and Education students in Robert Waterson’s curriculum and instruction classes will present oral histories they gathered about the servicemen during an open forum.
A reception follows from 5:30-6 p.m., with a ceremony and special presentations at 6 p.m.
Waterson, who teaches social studies methodology classes at WVU, organized Tuesday’s events as an opportunity for people to honor and learn from West Virginia World War II veterans. He encourages people to drop in for part or all of the program, which he describes as a meaningful salute to members of the Greatest Generation.
Joel Beeson, Visual Journalism Program chair and associate professor in the School of Journalism, will show part of his documentary, “Fighting on Two Fronts: The Untold Stories of African American WWII Veterans.”
The film follows the stories of four veterans – Madalean McIver, John M. Watson, Marcus Cranford and Hughie P. Mills – and tells about the hardships they endured fighting against racism during the war.
Beeson came up with the idea for the documentary through his work as the director of the West Virginia Veterans History Project, created to help document stories of the state’s veterans. In 2007, he received the Braintrust Award, established by Gen. Colin Powell to recognize people who have provided exemplary national and community service on behalf of African-American veterans.
Watson, Cranford and Mills – three of the veterans featured in the film – will be on hand for the WVU event, along with the University’s Army ROTC color guard and College of Creative Arts students Alejandro Belden and Maria Mahe, who will perform the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.”
Waterson, director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education at WVU, will present the CDCE’s first Civitas Society Award honoring “citizenship service and contributions to society.”
Waterson recently established the Center for Democracy and Citizenship Education at WVU’s College of Human Resources and Education with the mission of helping to revitalize civic education in American schools. Students, teachers and others interested in organizing future CDCE programs can contact Waterson at 304-293-3849.
CONTACT: Janey Cink, College of Human Resources and Education