Upcoming film tells of Sussex County’s World War II Heroes

by Dave on August 9, 2010

Local author James Diehl is attempting to keep the voices of the “Greatest Generation” alive through a 60-minute video documentary.

Sixty-five years since the conclusion of hostilities in World War II, voices from this important time in history are vanishing in rapid numbers. Sadly, it won’t be long before first-hand accounts from this period are lost forever.

Through a partnership with Milford-based Watermark Productions, local author James Diehl is attempting to keep the voices of the “Greatest Generation” alive through a 60-minute video documentary, scheduled for release on Veteran’s Day 2010.

The film will feature 25 of the 100 veterans included in Diehl’s two books, “World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware,” released last year, and “World War II Heroes of Coastal Delaware,” scheduled for a May, 2011, release.

“I’m very excited about this film project and my continuing mission to keep these valiant voices alive,” says Diehl, a native of Seaford and near lifelong resident of Sussex County. “I absolutely could not have chosen anyone better than Watermark Productions to work with on this project. This film, when completed, is going to be something very, very special.”

While many of the recollections in the film can be read about in Diehl’s book project, the film will allow viewers to put faces to the names, to see the very real emotions etched on the faces of those involved in history’s grandest war.

Told from the perspective of men, and a handful of women, who served during that time period and today call Sussex County home, this film will allow their voices to be heard forever.

These stories are emotional, they’re real, and they’re so very candid. From Pearl Harbor, to Iwo Jima, D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, among many other parts of the war, they are told with passion and an enormous amount of pride.

“More than anything, what comes through in these video accounts is the pride these men and women have in the United States of America,” says Diehl. “They gave so much, and really asked for nothing in return. If I can help preserve their stories, even in a small way, then it is my distinct honor and privilege to do so.”

Diehl’s website, www.ww2-heroes.com, features brief bios of the first 50 World War II veterans, several of whom have already passed on, as well as much more information about southern Delaware’s humble heroes of World War II.

The 234 page “World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware” is the first in a two-part series that pays tribute to area veterans of the Second World War. The book received a first-place award in the Delaware Press Association’s 2009 communications competition in the category of “Non Fiction Book-History.” The early profiles from the book were also named a first-place award winner in the 2007 Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association’s editorial competition.

“ ‘World War II Heroes of Southern Delaware’ by James Diehl provides interesting and often moving accounts of men and women who participated in World War II,” acknowledged George B. Ward, a history professor at the University of Texas and a judge for the DPA competition. “Each chapter is essentially an interview with a southern Delaware resident, telling the story of their service and sacrifice during the war. Taken together, these engaging portraits of Delaware natives (and those who settled there), told mainly in their own words, create a powerful picture of the ‘Greatest Generation.’ ”

More information about Diehl’s ongoing project honoring Sussex County’s World War II veterans can be obtained by visiting www.ww2-heroes.com.

Here is the two-and-a-half-minute trailer for the film:

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