World War II
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- Which branch did you serve in? Did you enlist or were you drafted? How did you feel about the draft? Were you philosophically or politically opposed to serving in the military or were you proud to serve your country?
- Describe basic training. Who was your commanding officer? Who were your peers? Where and for how long were you trained? What did you do?
- Did you have trouble getting along with anyone in your unit? Why? What became of it? How did you deal with it?
- Did you have a nickname? What were the memorable nicknames of others?
- How did you feel about sharing your space with others? Did it feel cramped at first? Was it easy to get used to?
- What was your most vivid memory of this time? Specific people or places? A certain event?
- Which weapons were you trained to use? How did you feel about using weapons? Were you comfortable with one in particular?
- Were you especially skilled at one particular task? Did it become your "specialty"?
- Did basic training build up or cut down your self-confidence? Why or why not? Did you feel as if you were well-prepared for your duties? Did it turn out that you were prepared?
- Where were you stationed after basic training? What were the people and the surrounding area like?
- How did you keep in touch with your friends and family back home during this time? Did you save any letters you or they might have written?
- Did you become close friends with any of those you fought with? Did you keep in touch? Did you save any of their lives? Did they save yours?
- Which battles did you fight in? Describe the time, place, number of participants, and what happened. How did these battles affect the war as a whole? What role did your unit play in this battle?
- Were you injured in any way? Describe what happened. What went through your mind when you realized you were hurt?
- If you were injured, did you heal quickly or not? How did it change you in ways that you still noticed years later?
- Did you ever need to take someone's life? Briefly describe the experience. How did it affect you both immediately and in the long term?
- Why did you leave the service? Honorable discharge? Injury? End of active duty? Describe the circumstances and how you felt about them.
- Were you able to return to "normal functioning"? Was it easy to put it all behind you and get on with your life, or did you have to struggle? What was the hardest to adjust to once you returned?
- Was there someone or something that was helpful in getting you through the adjustment of returning home? What was their role? What did they do?
- According to the history books, when the U.S. dropped 2 atomic bombs on Japan, the war was over. From your personal point of view, was this true? If not, describe what still had to be done.
- After all was said and done, what did you learn from your experiences in the military? Why were these lessons valuable to you? How did they change you and your ideas or values?
- How would you have been different if you had never had these experiences?
- What sort of memorabilia did you save from this time? What did it symbolize to you? What memories and feelings did it bring back?