Become Friends with a
World War II Hero

By Abbey Tiderman 12.07.2016 interact

What’s it like to put your life on the line to protect your country and preserve freedom? To help guide humanity toward brighter days? Just ask Rishi Sharma, founder of Heroes of the Second World War, a nonprofit dedicated to interviewing and filming surviving World War II veterans in the United States. Sharma is just 19 years old and has never been to war. But he’s heard from over one hundred veterans, and is dedicated to looking into the eyes of a new one every day, honoring their service and capturing their stories on video so the world will never forget the sacrifices they made.

Beyond preserving this vital world history, Sharma highlights the importance of connecting with veterans on a personal level, and making them feel perhaps a little less alone, saying recently, “This one guy I interviewed in Oregon told me he hadn’t been visited by anyone in over five months and that he was just waiting to die.”

That’s why Sharma encourages young people to become friends with World War II veterans — visit them and talk to them. Showing interest in these people’s significant lives will show them that they still matter, that their contributions are not forgotten — and these conversations can be very enriching for young people!

Here’s what you can do to connect with vets in your community:

  1. Go to your local senior homes, ask around and or talk to your elderly neighbors.
  2. Contact  veteran groups such as Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans or American Veterans and ask about any local vets they can connect you with.

According to the National Museum of World War II, there are approximately 620,000 World War II veterans still alive today, the youngest of whom are in their 90s. Sharma realizes they don’t have long to live—about 400 veterans pass away each day—which is why he’s acting with urgency, crisscrossing the country and capturing veterans’ words and memories. To help his project financially, Sharma has created a GoFundMe page where supporters can contribute to his cause.

comments

  1. mr.speicy

    are veterans are special…if they survive a war that means they should be respected like my grampa who was is world war 2 (Medore Alen lussier) my hero!

  2. kailey lawrence

    omg thank you for your help ill love you and i worship you

  3. Marci D'Andrea

    I just watched the segment on you and your documentary on Channel 1! Bravo…what a great project for history and for the Veterans who gave so much for us and those around the world. I loved what you said about “people need to get out of there self-absorbed worlds.” Good luck with this project!!

  4. Austin

    I think he is making a great stand anymore most classmates forget about or just do care about who saved this great county. They laugh and think its funny that real people lost there lives for us and its sad to think were growing up with those kinds of kid.

  5. Paula Bell

    I think this is an amazing project for Mr. Sharma to have started. I would like to let him know that my father is a WWII, highly decorated vet who served in France and Germany. He is currently 93 years old. If he would like to contact him, please have Mr. Sharma send me an email.
    Thank you-
    Paula Sue Bell

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