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Real-life heroes

To the Editor:

Veterans Day is a day of tribute for our American military, but it seems to go unnoticed by some and honored by others.

This summer, I had the privilege of interviewing 11 amazing veterans of World War II, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan, and documented their verbal accounts of their war experience. It left me lost for words.

Examples of the their hardships included a World War II POW held in five prison camps, an Army helicopter pilot being shot down in Vietnam, and a young soldier losing his leg in Iraq, to name a few. After all this, each of them said they would do it all again, regardless of the pain they endured.

As a high school student, I didn’t really know what to expect when interviewing each veteran – what I would hear or how I would react. Once I began to listen to their stories, however, I realized that these people are real-life heroes living in our midst.

A wise Navy veteran told me that our heroes are waiting to tell their stories as part of the healing process; all we need to do is listen.

Going forward on Veterans Day, I will remember those I interviewed and thank veterans for their service. Many thanks to the American Legions in Wauconda, Lake Zurich and Amvets in Cary for allowing me to attend their meetings and supporting my cause to interview veteran heroes.

To hear detailed accounts of my veteran stories and tributes, go to

Eric Gier



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