Veteran's Appreciation
#1

I received a letter from my pen pal in England, a WWII Veteran named Eric Patience. He told me that he feels like people have forgotten about him and his mates. Given the last few days I've had I was crushed by his words.

 

Not long after I read Eric's letter I received this email from the WVAmericanLegion. :armata_PDT_37:

 

March 19, 2009

 

To Whom It May Concern,

 

Hello. My name is Kyle Nappi. I am 18 years old and I live in Ostrander, Ohio. I am currently a Senior at Buckeye Valley High School. I have a big interest in history, specifically WWII. I collect military medals, patches, badges, insignia, field gear, and a very unique thing, veteran autographs. I have a collection of autographs from military veterans who served during WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, and the present war in Iraq.

 

I have been interested in history for over 7 years now, and I have collected the autographs and stories from nearly 2,000 veterans in 20 countries. The oldest veteran is currently 112 years old and the youngest enlisted at age 14. I have autographs from Pearl Harbor survivors, D-Day veterans, airman, POWs, the last WWI veterans, generals, U.S. Presidents, USS Indianapolis survivors, Holocaust survivors, and even German soldiers!

 

Back in June (of 2007), I was interview by PBS, to talk about my collection for an interview that was to be shown online (YouTube). After that, I was interviewed for "The Columbus World War II Roadshow." They mentioned that it was to come on (in Central-Ohio) before some of the episodes of Ken Burns’ "The War." You can find this interview on YouTube under "Kyle Nappi."

 

I was recently interviewed by the American Legion for an article that appeared in their August magazine. Here is an internet link to the online article:

 

http://www.legion.org/whatsnew/publication...er/story?id=635

 

There have been several other people have taken the time to post my request online and in newspapers. There are too many for me to list, but if you go to Google or Yahoo and search "Kyle Nappi" you can find most of them.

 

Recently, I also had the privilege of going to Washington, D.C. in March of 2008. I was invited to the Pentagon, by the Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates) for a Ceremony honoring WWI veterans. I was able to meet with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen as well with the last American WWI veteran, Frank Buckles. He is the last surviving WWI veteran...out of nearly 5 million that served. He's the last survivor. Before not to long, the WWII veterans will dwindle down as well (sadly nearly 1,100 die each day), and we must not only remember their stories, but the ones who did not come home. "All gave some, some gave all."

 

There are so many people, my age, who don’t fully understand the magnitude about the veterans and what they did for our country. I think it's inspiring to these veterans when, someone is asking for their autographs/military experiences, but also when the person asking is that of my age. I have received letters from veterans who thank me for what I am doing and that it is unfortunate that so many people tend to forget these stories. Some veterans have even sent me their military insignia, medals, books, etc (one veteran even sent his POW dog tag) simply because they say that there is no one in their family who cares about it. I think it's amazing that they would send all this to me, a complete stranger to them.

 

So, overall, I am trying to obtain as many autographs/stories from veterans as I can to ensure that their stories are not forgotten. This is a hobby that keeps me quite busy - I get over 5 things in the mail each day, followed by 10-15+ E-mails, fielding phone calls, writing up letters, sending out letters (a lot of postage) to numerous veterans, locating/finding addresses, typing up the questions, translating the letters (for those foreign veterans), etc. It is also a costly hobby as well – a lot of money goes into postage, envelopes, paper, ink, etc. Some people have sent books of stamps to help defray shipping costs. This is pretty much a daily routine so it's almost like my job, so to speak.

 

With it being my Senior year at Buckeye Valley High School, I am still looking at colleges and scholarships. I have taken a college government course and am currently taking a college history course. I would like to pursue my interest in military history and turn it into a career (something along the lines of military historian). I am also considering a military career.

 

I would like to major in either history or political science in order to help further my career. I would like to do work as a historian, government official, or perhaps a military officer of some kind (maybe working at the Pentagon!). I have greatly considered applying to one of the United States military academies in the U.S.

 

My main purpose for writing is to share with you that there are people from my generation who do remember the past and the sacrifices that were made for our country. I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass the word around that there are people who remember, along with the information about my collection.

 

Thank you very much for your time.

 

Sincerely,

Kyle Nappi

1890 Warren Rd.

Ostrander, OH 43061 USA

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