America is losing its Greatest Generation quickly and despite the years of technological advances since these men and women served in World War II, many of their stories have gone unrecorded. The generation of veterans who served in World War II famously came home and went right back to working and raising their families, keeping the stories of their service to themselves.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as of 2018, there are fewer than 500,000 World War II veterans still alive and it expects there to be none left within two decades. We are quickly losing the opportunity to record these brave individuals’ stories for posterity. One dedicated young man is on a mission to ensure this opportunity is not lost for the honor of these veterans and their families.
Rishi Sharma is a 21-year-old first-generation immigrant who has made it his life’s mission to “interview at least one WWII combat veteran every single day until the last one passes away.” Sharma began this amazing task when he was just 16 years old by riding his bike to local retirement homes and asking the World War II veterans there to tell him about their service.
Sharma would let them talk about as much of their service as they would like and record a video of the conversation. He would then provide the video in DVD form to the veteran for them to share with their family if they chose. He believes it is important to provide these veterans the ability to share their stories, “in a censor-free environment” in order to bring awareness to their sacrifices. According to Sharma, each interview lasts between four and six hours.