Last updated: February 19. 2013 4:21PM - 686 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – The event was appropriately named Hero's Brunch.

More than 100 Wilkes University students who took part in a Veterans Oral History Project attended an event Thursday with the veterans they interviewed to document how they served their country.

I'm so proud to be president of a university that brings its students together with veterans, Patrick Leahy said. Every one of these stories needs to be told. The stories tell of generation after generation of greatness of those who have served our nation.

About 75 of the 100 veterans attended the luncheon and chatted with fellow veterans and the students who interviewed them.

Sam Greenberg, 86, past national commander of the Jewish War Veterans, said that when he participated in the interviews students kept saying Wow again and again.

They couldn't believe what we were saying, Greenberg said. I'm not going to lie – war was hell. I was 17 years-6 weeks old when I entered the service. I can tell you, I grew up overnight.

World War II veterans such as Bill Cannon, 90, Joe Pringle, 90, and Adeline Seliga, 92, listened to the speakers. They all said they enjoyed participating in the project and each felt it was important for the students to learn what veterans have gone through.

Brittany Walker, a freshman nursing major, interviewed a World War II veteran and she said the experience will stay with her forever.

I learned a lot from him, she said wiping away tears. This experience taught me many things.

Walker was one of the students in Wilkes' First Year Foundations class participating in the project to record the oral histories of veterans of wars from World War II up to present-day conflicts in Afghanistan. Marcia Balester is the professor.

The students were paired with veterans, or family members of veterans. The veterans will each get to receive a copy of their oral history recorded by the students.

Balester started the veterans project last year and it tripled in size. We are losing World War II veterans at the rate of 760 per day, she said. We wanted to make these connections and record this part of history.

Student Jesse Quintiliani talked about his interview with Fred Krapf, a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Fred told me it was what you had to do, Quintiliani said. He said he feared nothing.

Krapf, 83, of Mountain Top, said he remembers leaving his family.

He said the project was a good idea because kids today don't really know what we went through. He said he could tell the students wanted to hear what the veterans had to say.

Pringle was on Iwo Jima during the time of the famous flag raising during the Pacific campaign in WWII. He said his interview got him to remember some things even he forgot.

They should know what we went through; what war was like, hee said.

Garrett Klingensmith, 18, a freshman pre-pharmacy student, interviewed Pringle.

I learned about the sacrifices all veterans made, he said. This project is important, so we not only learn what they went through, but that we and future generations never forget.

When Mitchell Henry got up to tell of his interview with the veterans, he looked out at the crowd and said, Wow.

All I can say is I am thankful for all the sacrifices these veterans made for all of us.

Military license plates

Members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces decorated for valor or meritorious service during a time of armed conflict can now proudly display their medal through a new series of military license plates offered by PennDOT.

PennDOT's new series of plates offers a design exhibiting one of the following military decorations: Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor and Bronze Star.

Veterans and military personnel interested in these new plates may visit PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website, www.dmv.state.pa.us, and select the Military License Plates link under the Military Personnel/Veterans Information Center for a complete listing of available military license plates. The page provides images of each plate and links to the appropriate application form.

The fees for plates range from $7.50 to $20.

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