Hartland 7th graders preserve the memory of WWII vets

CREATED Jun 6, 2013 - UPDATED: Jun 6, 2013

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  • Destination Imagination team members.


HARTLAND - Thursday marked the 69th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy.

With so many aging WWII veterans dying daily, will future generations understand and appreciate what they sacrificed and experienced?  Or will their legacies slowly fade away?

Spreading the word

"I originally thought (the soldiers) went overseas, bombed, and then came back," said Jake Julius, a 7th grader at Swallow School in Hartland.  "Now I realize just how terrible the war actually was."

Julius is a member of Destination Imagination, a school group that promotes creative problem solving. 

"We decided our 'problem' was World War II veterans dying off so quickly," explained 7th grader Morgan Roelke.  "Our solution was to interview and videotape veterans and Holocaust survivors."

The group contacted veterans and survivors in the area and interviewed them on videotape.  Those conversations and stories are now on DVD and will be distributed to schools and libraries across the area.

"With these interviews, we'll be able to remember their stories (and share them with our peers)," said Julius.

Just in the nick of time

Bill Klovus, Sr. of Muskego was one of the vets interviewed. At first, the Pearl Harbor survivor was reluctant to talk, but later admitted he was happy he did.  The 93-year-old told the teens stories he had never revealed to anyone. 

"When I heard him talking about (D-Day) during the interview, it shed light on what his role actually was," said his son Bill Klovus, Jr. 

Had it not been for that interview, the Klovus family never would've heard his story.  Klovus, Sr. passed away a short time later.

"I can't describe what it means to us," Klovus, Jr. said.  "I can't say enough about those kids.  What a great future they have.  I'm so proud of them."

A reason for hope

Our country's rich history is full of stories of heroism and honor.  These young teenagers want to capture as many accounts as they can. 

"There are veterans still out there," said Roelke.  "Their stories are so important.  We're trying to get more people our age aware of them, so when there aren't anymore vets, their legacy will live on."
AUDIO: Click to hear Erik's report on Wis. Afternoon News

Destination Imagination team members:  Mary Baumgartner, Meghan Serceki, Morgan Roelke, Bailey Wakefield, Jake Julius, & Gary Griepentrog

(If you'd like to contact the team, you can do so at:  wwdiveteransproject@gmail.com)