Commentary #47: “Young Man On A Mission To Honor World War II Veterans Before It’s Too Late”


Image Credit:

I want to introduce you to one of my favorite news segments. It’s called “On The Road with Steve Hartman,” and it airs every Friday night on the CBS Evening News.


Image Credit: CBS News

When I was younger, my parents would record it and we would gather to watch it together. It was a great family bonding activity. Steve’s stories are something we continue to share with each other, our families, and our friends.

Now, since I’ve gotten married and have a house of my own, I don’t often get to watch it every week. Luckily, CBS News has a whole page dedicated to Steve’s stories – On The Road. You can read the written articles / transcripts, or you can watch the videos.

I almost always watch the videos.

Yesterday, I realized that I hadn’t seen several of the most recent segments. I spent nearly 45 minutes going through the page. Each story is roughly three minutes in length, and I guarantee you just watching or reading one will make your day a little bit brighter.

Yesterday, with each story, I smiled, I thought reflectively, and tears came to my eyes several times.

And then, I came upon this story:

Seconds after finishing the video, only two minutes and fifty-five seconds long, I knew I wanted to – No, I needed to – write a blog post about it.


Image Credit: Heroes of the Second World War

Rishi, at right in the photo above, is only 19-years-old, but he’s already made a huge impact. He started this project in 2014, and just the short time since then, he’s worked so hard and changed so many lives.

The full website is coming soon, but here’s what Rishi has so far:

This story reminded me of NPR’s StoryCorps, but Rishi is just one young man. And what he’s doing, having skipped days of high school to interview these incredible men, plus delaying college to continue this work, is so significant and important.

According to various sources, there were 16,112,566 members of the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Of those 16.1 million service members, there were 291,557 battle deaths, 113,842 other deaths in service (non-theater), and 670,846 non-mortal wounded.

As of this writing, it’s estimated that about 620,000 World War II veterans are still alive. Sadly, we lose roughly 375 veterans every day.

If that number remains accurate, we have about 1,653 days left until no survivors remain. Divide that by 365 days in a year – It means, that most, if not all of these brave people, will be gone in 4.5 years. By 2021, this generation will very likely, literally, be history.

That gives me chills. Rishi couldn’t have started this mission at a better time. I’m inspired by him.

For him to also take the time every single day to call these veterans – Calling them to say “thank you” – makes me want to pick up the phone, too. I mean, can’t we all make the effort to pick up the phone and call someone? Make that connection? It doesn’t have to be a veteran – It can be your grandparents. Someone else in your family. A friend who lives far away.

I can’t wait to see what he accomplishes.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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