From a stage in Rome, audience members heard tales of heroism in the Pacific Islands, Gettysburg and along Oriskany Creek.
Retired history teacher Gary Ford of Deansboro brought to life in his one-man play ‘Three Conversations’ the stories of several veterans. Ford performed and wrote the play using some of the stories told during his award-winning Oral History Project for World War II veterans at Rome Free Academy.
Throughout the performance Ford reminded his audience that these stories had to be told because the soldiers no longer could tell them. He said their courage and commitment must be remembered and these men honored for their duty.
Some of the proceeds from the Rome Community Theater performances went to help local veterans organizations, some of whom were set up in the lobby.
Here are some of the men Ford spoke of in the play:
Jerry Schilling: Schilling, a veteran of World War II, was 85 when he spoke to Ford’s class the first of his two times. He shared with the students the pain of seeing Japanese bombers attack an Australian hospital tent in the Pacific Islands, and the satisfaction that came with shooting two of those planes out of the sky.
Earl Brooks: A world Water II combat veteran who served in France and Germany and earned the Silver Star while on patrol, saving 50 men from a German attack. After speaking at RFA, Brooks was awarded his high school diploma under the Operation Recognition program for those who left school early to serve…