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Arendt, Laurie (ed.) / Back from duty 2 : more stories from Ozaukee County's veterans

About the Ozaukee County veterans book project…

About the Ozaukee County Veterans Book Project...
The Ozaukee County Veterans Book Project was conceived on Memorial Day 2001 as a way to
honor the men and women who have preserved our freedoms and maintained democracy as
members of the United States military. Because of their efforts throughout many generations, we
live in a country where we have many freedoms, and by that very fact, we often take those freedoms
for granted.
This project was a multi-generational attempt to bring those that have served together with other
members of our community. The first collection of stories was completed through a collaboration with
the five public school districts and the homeschooled students of Ozaukee County and local veterans
who volunteered to have their personal histories recorded. Three of our five county high schools
incorporated this project into their classroom curriculum and the students' work was graded and/or
used as extra credit. Other students worked independently, though all students were asked to follow
the guidelines provided by the national Veterans History Project.
The Ozaukee County Council of American Legion Posts graciously and enthusiastically agreed to
become the founding organization for this project and owns the rights to this book. This allowed for the
solicitation of financial contributions for the publication costs. As a volunteer project, no portion of the
contributions initially given toward this book were used for salaries or overhead. The net proceeds of
the book were, and continued to be, used at the discretion of the Ozaukee County Council of American
Legion Posts to further veteran-related activities and causes.
At the same time, all veterans from throughout the county were encouraged to tell their stories on
a volunteer basis. Presentations were made at our local American Legion posts, Veterans of Foreign
Wars posts and the Leatherneck Club. Our project was covered in all local media outlets and through
word of mouth. Students who wished to interview a family member in Ozaukee County who had served
in the military were encouraged to do so.
The end result was, "Back from Duty: Stories from Ozaukee County's Veterans." This book was
published in late 2002. As this first edition was winding to a close, more veterans came forward and
asked about the possibility of a second edition. Work on interviewing and transcribing for the second
edition, which you now hold in your hand, began in early 2003. With the completion of this edition,
more than 300 veterans have shared their stories with us.
For the second edition, adult interviewers were called upon in the community. The second time
around, interviewers focused on the veterans' personal experiences in relation to the historic contexts
in which they served. Most of the adult interviewers came forward as a way to honor their own close
relatives who have served in the various branches of the military.
The format of the two editions is similar. All participating veterans were asked to provide a
service-era photo or applicable memorabilia for each page. If no photo or memorabilia appears,
generally the veteran no longer owns such materials or did not have a service-era photo taken.
Audio tapes from our project have been submitted to the Madison-based Wisconsin Veterans
Museum, a partner facility for the national Veterans History Project. Family members of veterans who
completed recorded interviews can contact the Wisconsin Veterans Museum to obtain a free copy of
the tape.
It is my hope that this project will inspire other veterans to share their stores ... and friends, family
members and the general public will continue to listen to what they have to say.
Laurie Arendt
Editor and Project Founder

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