More than 80 World War II veterans have been interviewed for a town history project and this weekend local residents will get to hear those stories and experiences.
The Town of Greenburgh will broadcast interviews with the veterans, all Greenburgh residents, on its cable channels this weekend in honor of Memorial Day. The interviews, part of the Living History of the Veterans of the Town of Greenburgh project, will begin airing at 5 p.m. today and run through the holiday.
“Some of their stories are just incredible,” said Alan Hochberg, a town resident who has been conducting the interviews for three years. “These are ordinary men and some women who are just phenomenal.”
The interviews – interspersed with war footage and put together with help from Vietnam War vet Steve Wittenberg and town employee George Malone – chronicle the veterans’ experiences during and after the war. Some died shortly after their interviews but their stories will be shown, including a talk with Don Blum, who served on the U.S.S. Indianapolis and passed away about a year ago, Hochberg said.
Blum’s ship transported the trigger for atomic bombs to Tinian, an island of the Northern Mariana Islands, Hochberg said. It was from there in 1945 that soldiers would deploy atomic bombs for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
On its return, Hochberg said, Blum told how his ship was hit by a torpedo, sinking and killing some of the crew. He said half the men who survived were eaten by sharks.
“It’s living history,” said Town Supervisor Paul Feiner. “For students who will watch it, whole families will watch it. It makes it local. There’s more of a connection.”
The town identified veterans by looking for those who claimed special property tax exemptions. Hochberg said the next series of interviews will feature Korean War vets. Any who are interested in being interviewed can call Town Hall at 914-993-1525.
The interviews will air on channels 75 and 76 on Cablevision and on channels 34 and 35 on Verizon FIOS. Copies of the interviews are also available for viewing at the Greenburgh Library.