Geoffrey Wright and Dr. Robert Freeman, Church History
The scriptures tell us, “If all had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever…”1 Moroni was an example of faith- his faith inspired him to fight in defense, of his family, religion and liberty. Moroni “was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of perfect understanding; yea, a man who did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessing which he bestowed upon his people… yea, he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion even to the loss of his blood.”2 He sacrificed his life because of the faith he so dearly lived.
Like unto Moroni, during World War II, there were many men and women who, because of their faith, were able to overcome the trials of war and preserve, the lives of their loved ones, and the liberty of their country.
Recognizing a need to preserve the accounts of the LDS veterans of World War II, Brigham Young University sponsored the Saints at War project. The objective of this project was to gather the stories of those Saints who bravely fought for the life, and the liberty of family, country and religion, so that the blessings of their service would not be forgotten. I was thrilled when asked to participate in recording oral interviews of those saints who experienced World War II.
Because of a background in Technology Education I was able to bring many hours of digital media experience to the project. The Technology Education program provided me with many opportunities to use digital cameras, capture video clips, stream video, make captured video segments web ready, build web sites, design several types of media presentations, program animations etc. Because of this experience, and my interest in World War II, I was asked to interview 10 World War II vets, digitalize the interviews and create a summary of their experiences.
The interviews involved asking the veterans to share experiences and knowledge related to their war experience. I video taped these interviews, edited the interviews, prepared the videotape for the Internet, and created a Flash (an internet programming software) and Power Point Presentation summarizing each interview. The presentation incorporated several streamed video clips of the interviews, present audio and text recordings of the interviews; portray various photos and miscellaneous information relating to the experiences of the veterans. The assignment required many hours of effort, but provided for a wonderful opportunity of learning and growth.
Before having the opportunity of interviewing these 10 veterans, I never realized how ignorant I was, of the great sacrifice made by the saints who fought in World War II. It is easy to forget the price paid for our American legacy of liberty. How often do we take for granted our freedom? It is hard to imagine, yet important to remember that over 2,000,000 American men and women sacrificed their lives for American freedom. As I interviewed each one of the veterans I was captivated by their stories and examples of faith and courage. Imagine jumping out of a flaming B-24 bomber, in enemy territory, to escape dieing in a plane crash, or flying at 300mph in the flak filed skis, being shot down and crash landing your plane among enemies- rushing over to a nearby ditch to avoid being captured- then asking help from a simple French farm boy, who mysteriously appeared, who was willing to take you to a nearby farm, where trust worthy allies awaited to aid you, and hide you from the Nazi’s? Stories such as this were related time and time again. One never tires of the sincere stories and experiences shared by these men. They often talked of the blind excitement they had, and of the faith they carried in their hearts. They talked of the difficulty it was to resist the temptations of alcohol, drugs and crassness apparent in the environments they lived in. The strength of their faith, and their testimony of the living Christ are both amazing and admirable. It is appropriate, that these experiences have been preserved for future generations.
From a personal perspective, I am proud to be an American. I will not forget the men and women who sacrificed that I might have that blessing.
The Saints at War project will continue into the next few years. In some aspects, my help is no longer needed with this project, yet, because of what I learned, and how I grew, I would like to continue to help with this effort. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to share my talents in recording the blessings the Lord bestowed upon us, through the lives of brave men and women, who like unto Moroni fought for the liberty of their families, country and religion.