Hello. My name is Kyle Nappi. I am 17 years old and I live in Ostrander, Ohio. I am a junior at Buckeye Valley High School in Delaware, Ohio.
I have a big interest in history, specifically WWII. I collect military memorabilia and veteran autographs. I have a scrapbook collection of autographs from military veterans who served during WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, and the present war in Iraq.
I have collected the autographs and stories from nearly 1,600 veterans in 20 countries. The oldest veteran was 111 years old and the youngest is presently serving in Iraq.
I have autographs from Pearl Harbor survivors, D-Day veterans, airmen, POWs, USS Indianapolis survivors, Holocaust survivors, and even German soldiers.
I personally believe that war history is an interesting subject, and one worth the time to study. It is a shame when people, especially my age, have no idea about the events of the past. When we were watching the Omaha Beach scene on Saving Private Ryan in my social studies class and one my classmates asked the teacher if we were fighting the Japanese. Some others don't even know who we fought against in the Civil War.
I have recently begun branching out to the German side of WWII and it is a very interesting subject. I have contacted U-Boat captains, Panzer Tank commanders, Luftwaffe Aces, conspirators within the Third Reich, and the last people to see Hitler alive in the bunker in Berlin. Some of them were younger than I am when they were being ordered to fight until the last man.
It is interesting because, when most people tend to think of war history, they think of all the fighting, but there is a human side to it all. Both friends, and foes, that fought in the war have some amazing stories to tell and it is a shame when people tend to ignore them. And it is very unfortunate that many of these war veterans are dying off. On average, nearly 1,200 WWII veterans die a day. It seems as if today's generation know literally nothing of the past. The schools don't teach much about the past, such as the wars.
These veterans I have contacted, both friends and foes of the wars, have made huge sacrifices for their country. About a month ago, I spoke with a Vietnam War veteran, who was blinded from a land mine explosion.
I have also begun contacting numerous worldwide veteran organizations, such as the DAV, VFW, and many, many more. Three of them, one an Australian veteran organization, another a VFW post in Arizona, and the Blinded Veterans Association, posted my request on their website.
My main purpose for writing is to share with you that people from our generation do remember the past and the sacrifices that were made for our great country. I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass the word around that there are people who remember.