It is estimated around 416,000 American soldiers lost their lives fighting in World War II. Around 2,000 of these soldiers were Utahn’s. Milne’s Stories Behind The Stars project is recovering these lost stories.
Don Milne is a World War II historian. He has recorded more than 1,300 stories of Utah soldiers who died in the war. And despite his best efforts, he realized he wouldn’t be able to record all 400,000 stories of the American soldiers who died in World War II. So he has decided to recruit volunteers who are interested to help document these stories.
“We're just asking them to find names of people who died in World War II (and) write a story about them. It takes about an hour," he said. "We're going to post it on Fold3.com, that's a property owned by Ancestry.com, who's supporting this project. And then phase two of the project will be we're going to have a smartphone app. So you could go to any war memorial or cemetery, take your smartphone, scan the name of one of these World War II fallen and you'll get a link to read their story."
Milne said that anyone who is interested can help with this project.
“This isn't that hard. You don't have to be a trained historian to do this. It only takes less than an hour to actually find information nowadays, anyone with the internet and knowing where to look can find enough to write an obituary length article about pretty much anyone who served in World War Two,” said Milne.
Since the youth of today are a similar age to many of the soldiers who died, Milne hopes this will help stories resonate more with them. He hopes the soldier’s stories will help the younger generation appreciate American freedoms and choose to be brave in their own lives.