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The Greatest Generation: Juniata Project Records Veteran's Memories of War

(Posted July 2, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College media specialist Donna Weimer is looking for local veterans of World War II who are willing to participate in a documentary film project that will record the memories of those who served overseas and at home.

Weimer, Thornbury Professor of Communication at Juniata, will supervise a team of 16 high-school seniors from across the state as part of the Pennsylvania Governor?s School for Information Technology, held July 14-18 at Penn State University. The high school students will set up filming and interview sites at Penn State, Juniata College and other locations.

?We hope to produce 16 DVD documentaries that record the experiences of men and women from the World War II era,? Weimer says. ?We are looking for people who can talk about the war but also civilians with recollections of life at home during the war years.?

Each of the documentaries produced will be sent to the Library of Congress? American Folk Life Center, which has archived the Veteran?s History Project, an oral history collection of veteran and civilian histories from World War II. In addition, the documentaries also would be archived as part of Juniata?s Currents of the Juniata Valley regional history project.

Weimer hopes to line up veterans from Blair, Centre and Huntingdon counties to participate in the project. She estimates each interview will take about an hour and encourages people to bring along memorabilia and photographs.

?There is an urgency to collect the stories of our World War II generation and I hope to get about 20 participants for the interviews,? she says. ?This project also gives these talented high school students interviewing skills as well as videography and video production skills.?

The students will be divided into eight two-person teams. Each team is responsible for two interviews. Before tackling their assignments, the Governor?s School students will receive training on how to use video cameras and digital still cameras, as well as intensive training on interviewing techniques.

The students will edit and create their documentaries at Juniata?s media laboratory facility and at Penn State?s video editing labs. Maria Cabrera Baukus, a senior lecturer in communications at Penn State, will supervise the production of the documentaries and will collaborate with Weimer in teaching the class. Each person interviewed will receive a free copy of his or her finished documentary.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.