Volunteer group honors veterans, keeps history alive

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- You might see them thanking a World War II hero or Stealing a kiss from a Vietnam vet.

But this group isn’t playing dress up. They’re bringing history, to life.

“We do it about six times a year we generally come when they have the super flights. When they have 500 or more veterans come out," Bill Groff, CEO Allied Airmen’s Preservation Society, said.

Groff is one of the founders of the Allied Airmen’s Preservation Society- Mid Atlantic District. Groff and his team reenact the daily lives of men and women who fought in our country’s wars. Not only do they greet veterans and visitors to the national war memorials, they attend air shows, speak at schools and visit retirement homes.

“Used to be that the veterans would come to us at these events and now we find we have to go to them," he added.

But here, the veterans can’t wait to talk to them. Volunteer Laura Shaw adds, they feel safe opening up to them.

“To be a part of that and share it, that they open up enough to talk about these things. It’s wonderful," Shaw said.

The group uses all original equipment and uniforms to keep the memories of our veterans alive and pass them on to the next generation.

“You can’t get this stuff again because it’s not written down," another volunteer added.

The stories the group hears, they said, aren't like anything in history books.
They feel lucky to be able to listen because they know, these first-hand accounts won’t be around forever.

“World War One vets they’re all going, Civil War living history they’re going. We still have the luxury of being able to talk one on one and hear the stories," one volunteer said.

That’s the message they hope to get across to the kids who stop on the National Mall.

“We try to get them to appreciate that they’re so lucky to be free and we just owe everything to the veterans or we just wouldn’t be here," Groff said.

Freedom that we celebrate this Independence Day.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.

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