Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Day Three: 508 PIR Association Reunion

508PIR Banquet

Rock Merritt and Ernie Lawson

Oral History Presentation

Veterans Day is the perfect day to share an update for last Saturday’s events at the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment Association Reunion.  On that day, I conducted an audio and video presentation to the membership.  My presentation focused on the progress of my oral history interviews and why preserving the legacy of all Veterans is important.  After my presentation, I filmed a panel discussion of 508 PIR Veterans and current service members.  The panel discussion focused on comparing and contrasting experiences and military service across the different eras.

508 PIR Oral History Interviews

Continuing that busy day, I later had the privilege to complete two oral history interviews.  The first interview was with Brodie Hand, a World War II Veteran who served in 508 Company C, 82nd Airborne Division.  Corporal Hand participated in the Normandy campaign as a paratrooper and subsequently was captured and became a POW for the rest of the war.  The second interview was with Justin Graham, an active duty service member with the 508 PIR, 82nd Airborne.  SSG Graham has been deployed three times to Afghanistan, in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  It was fantastic that these two heroes took the time to speak with me.  I was equally delighted to be able to compare and contrast a World War II Veteran with a current soldier.  What I can say definitively is that they both love their country, want the best for their country, and believe in the duty, honor, and respect.

508 PIR Dinner Banquet

The 508 PIR Association Reunion concluded that evening with a wonderful dinner banquet and was attended by a color guard of the 82nd Airborne as well as by many of active duty service members in their “dress blues”.  Looking forward to more good times next year when we meet again in Fort Bragg for the 2017 Reunion.  Airborne all the way!

 

508 PIR Oral History Inteview for Brodie Hand

CPL Brodie Hand

 

508 PIR oral history interview for Justin Graham

SSG Justin Graham

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About Author

Patrick Russell

Director and oral historian for the Making History Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Veteran stories for future generations. Resides in Miami, Florida, where he has been a practicing lawyer since 1994. Proudly serves as a staff member for the University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, in addition to being a member of the Oral History Association, American Historical Association; Friends and Family of the 508 P.I.R.; and the Battle of the Bulge Association. Graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in Political Science, and a law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. Additional courses and workshops for oral history and museum studies have been taken at Baylor University and Harvard University, Harvard Extension School. Contact info: (305) 608-2977 or patrick@makehistoryproject.com.

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