WWII veterans helping plan symposium
by Sherrie Norris
The three-day event is scheduled for Aug. 9 to 11 and will be held at the Broyhill Center on the campus of Appalachian State University.
Featured keynote speakers will include the following:
Retired Maj. Gen. Tom Saddler, a bombardier in the 8th Air Force, perhaps more commonly known today as the General from the John Boy and Billy Radio Big Show;
Harvey Alexander, a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen, recently spotlighted in the movie Red Tails;
Ron Drez, a retired Marine captain in Vietnam, author of several books and guide for historical tours of World War II battle sites, who also assisted Stephen Ambrose with his research in writing The Band of Brothers;
Kevin Hymel, author and expert on the life and times of Gen. George Patton, frequently seen on TheI History Channel, featured prominently in the series Patton 360 and is also a historical tour guide of Gen.Patton's battles.
Local WWII veterans will also be interviewed and available for question-and-answer sessions.
Artifacts and memorabilia from WWII will be on display, as well as war-related books, many of which will be for sale.
The purpose of the event, Wiley said, is twofold: to honor our veterans while, at the same time, giving them a platform to share their war experiences with an attentive audience.
It has long been a personal goal of Wiley, a WWII Coast Guard veteran and author, to make sure the WWII veterans are not forgotten and that their stories be told.
As a founding member of the Appalachian High Country World War II Roundtable Inc., Wiley has interviewed local veterans. Those interviews are now a part of documented history and protected in video libraries.Wiley will also be a featured speaker during the event.
Wiley conducts monthly meetings of the roundtable at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center in Boone for the veterans to have a place to socialize, reminisce and discuss topics of interest.
For the last few months, the hot topic has been the symposium, which is shaping up to be a unique event, he said.
We are very fortunate to be teaming up with the ASU Department of History and our major sponsor, Frye Regional Medial Center, to present this symposium, Wiley said.
IF YOU GO
There are about 62 members of the roundtable, which includes approximately 50 WWII veterans and a dozen others who serve as consultants and supporters.
Tickets for the Thursday night session of the symposium are $30 for adults, $15 for 13 to 18 years old; children 12 years old and younger are admitted free. Tickets for each of the daily sessions, 8:30 a.m. to noon; 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday are $25 for adults, $12.50 for those 13 to 18 years old; and free for children 12 years old and younger.
Advance tickets are available at a discount and may be purchased through any of the roundtable members. For more information, visit http://www.appalachianwwiivets.org or call (828) 385-1467.