Written by Lorel Kapke, Sort Your Story Founder
My father was interested in the arts and was heading in the direction of becoming a commercial artist when World War II broke out. He insisted on joining the service as he felt it was “his duty.” However, choosing what area of the military to join was a bit difficult. (Ray was always considered a “gentleman” and not a “fighter” yet he enjoyed sports as he played basketball in high school -at 5’10”- he was quick on his feet !
The military questioned his intent and asked him if he wanted to kill the enemy. Ray felt no animosity towards “any group of people” and he did believe it was his duty to serve (with full knowledge of the political climate at that time.) Ray was placed him in the Navy as a gunner on the USS Davison and Minesweeper.
Historically, where Ray Kapke lived in Wisconsin, it was a tight German community. At that time in Wisconsin the impact both World War I and World War II had on this German community” was experienced by our German ancestors. I understand many, many cultures dealt with similar stories. I feel sharing these stories may be beneficial to understand “discrimination” was felt by “many, many groups of people in this country from early 1500’s and so on!
So our question to you today: Did your ethnic group suffer any discrimination during World War I or II in your community? How did that shape your family’s history? How are you preserving YOUR family’s war stories?
© 2013 Sort Your Story, Sonoma, California
This weekend, I, Jennifer Holik, spoke at the Illinois Family History Expo. One of the lectures I gave was Finishing The Story which is three case studies about my World War I and World War II ancestors who died in service.
My lecture basically goes like this for each case study:
- Tell the story I heard from a family member about that soldier
- Explain my initial research process
- Go through all the records, books, newspaper articles, and more I located on each soldier
- The process of proving, disproving, saying it is possible this story I heard is true
- And the process of writing the “final” story of my soldier even though all my questions were not answered
When I got to the end of the lecture the room was quiet. I asked if there were any questions and no one said a word. I thanked everyone for attending and after a few more very quiet moments, they clapped and started filing out. A few came up front to talk to me and ask questions or tell me the stories of their military ancestors. A friend of mine attended this lecture and had never heard me give it. When I asked her what she thought and said I was concerned that no one said a word, she said I had her about in tears twice as I told the stories and walked through the case studies.
Don’t underestimate the power of the stories that you may write and tell about your family, whether they were a soldier, baker, mother, politician, whatever. Use Sort Your Story to help tell those stories. Document the information, include copies of records, and write out the notes and stories that go with those records. Piece by piece you too will put your family’s story together.
Have you done this? Please tell us about it in the comments.
© 2012 Lorel Kapke, 19201 Sonoma Hwy. #341, Sonoma, CA 95476-5413