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Minot man hopes to record interviews with war veterans

Submitted Photo This photo shows U.S. Marines with M14 rifles at battle in Hamo village during the Vietnam War. Public domain photo by Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. U.S. Marine Corps, from the site goodfreephotos.com.

Kyle Erickson of Minot wants to preserve the stories of veterans of American wars.

Erickson hopes to record vets talking about their experiences and then will upload the recorded interviews to a YouTube channel featuring North Dakota War Heroes.

Erickson said he is interested in recording veterans of all wars, but it was the experiences of Vietnam vets that particularly inspired him to start this project.

“So many of them didn’t get a chance to tell their story because they were never welcomed home,” said Erickson.

Erickson said some Vietnam vets never talked about their war experiences because of the anti-war movement and the negative reaction they got from their fellow countrymen.

Submitted Photo This photo shows American prisoners of war recently released from North Vietnamese prison camps in 1973. Public domain photo by U.S. Air Force, from the site goodfreephotos.com.

“A lot of guys got rid of their clothes and any proof they ever were in Vietnam because they were called baby killers and spit on,” said Erickson, who isn’t a military veteran but has a profound respect for those who served.

“They’re all heroes,” he said.

Erickson also wants to hear the stories of veterans of more recent conflicts such as the Gulf War and Desert Storm as well as World War II and the Korean War.

Erickson said he is aware of a similar project sponsored by the Billings Gazette in Montana that featured the recorded interviews of a number of veterans and is also available on YouTube.

Erickson said veterans can contact him to schedule a time to do the recorded interview. The interviews will take place in a reserved room at the Minot Public Library.

Erickson said he expects each interview will take about 45 minutes to an hour.

War vets will be able to talk about any experience they want to share.

“We want you to be yourself,” said Erickson. (We’re) not going to do any bleeping.”

Erickson expects some vets will want to bring along old pictures, which he can also include in the recorded interviews.

If people want to travel from elsewhere to be interviewed, Erickson said he might be able to arrange for private lodging with volunteers.

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