QC WWII Web Site Honors Memories
By Joseph Orovic
A two-year effort by the members of Queens College’s history club came to fruition with the launch of a tribute Web site profiling the lives of the 997 students and alumni that served during World War II.
The project, funded by $10,000 provided by former State Sen. Serf Maltese, was overseen by faculty advisors and largely done by the six-member core of the history club.
“We’ve got a pretty active club,” said faculty advisor and associate professor Bob Wintermute. “They’re all interested in history from a participatory standpoint, not just consuming it by reading books.”
The work began after the college dedicated a memorial to its members of the “Greatest Generation” in 2007. Combing through archives and taking oral history seminars, the group of students produced pages upon pages of history.
Volunteer and online guru Jae Lee provided the digital wizardry needed to make it happen.
The result is a crisp site with the grit of the era, sparse and simple. It includes profiles of the many vets that walked the campus, now both living and dead, as well as digitized photos. Some sections remain bare, but Wintermute promises more on the way.
The history club is currently transcribing and digitizing a vast collection of oral histories, mined out of a wealth of interviews with surviving veterans.
There are also more photos and letters to be scanned and posted to the site.
But time is of the essence. Of the 997 students and alumni that served, only 220 are alive.
A majority of the group served in Europe with smaller contingents in the Pacific and northern Africa.
Some 58 students and one staff member died during the war, though Wintermute said they have found that not all deaths occurred on the field of battle. Some even suffered injuries or death during training. And the learning will continue.
“This is constantly evolving, so there will be more to add,” Wintermute said.
The project may also expand in the coming years to include members of various classes that served in other conflicts, to create an all-encompassing memorial devoted to all of the college’s veterans.
The Web site can be seen at www.qc.edu/history/wwiiveterans.