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Boy Scout's goal: Interview 1,000 World War II vets

Kyle Miller hasn’t been around long enough to have much of his own history, but at 16, he’s deeply involved in the military history that others created.

When he was 12, Kyle, a Boy Scout, joined a group for World War II veterans. He was so fascinated by their stories that he became their archivist. Now he’s taken on an even bigger task to make certain their stories are around forever.

Three WWII veterans tell how they fulfilled their duty to country.

“At the beginning it would seem kind of strange to befriend somebody who’s three-quarters of a century older than me. But, when you really start talking to them, you realize they’re no different than you are,” he said.

Kyle’s great-grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge, a major German offensive in France, Luxembourg and Belgium during the winter of 1944-45. He died when Kyle was 4-years-old. Being around veterans, Kyle said, he gets to experience what his great-grandfather might have shared with him.

“I realized what heroes they truly are, how much they sacrificed for their families, their country and for people like me,” he said.

To honor them, this young man from Pickerington, Ohio got the idea to collect the stories of 1,000 veterans of World War II and post them on a website he designed with his father, who is also his Scout leader.

The project is called Voices from the Front. The project will also help him the attain the highest Boy Scout rank, Eagle Scout, which requires he demonstrate leadership while carrying out a community service project. He will also earn academic credit from his mother, who homeschools Kyle and his four siblings.

“There are a lot of books out there that have captured a lot of stories but there’s a lot we don’t have, so this project is to get and capture more of the stories before the veterans die,” Kyle said. “There are always stories out there that we’re missing.”

Among them, he said, stories about what was going on at home while the men were in battle.

“You can always read about the battle strategy, but you don’t get the real personal aspect of it,” he said. “From the wives and people at home, all the way to the support units, and then onto the combat units. We want to capture all those stories to hear all those perspectives.

With the help of volunteers, Kyle hopes to reach his goal of 1,000 voices by next fall. Meanwhile, Kyle has a new goal: To finish a book about veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.