In Their Own Words: Area veterans share their stories this Thanksgiving weekend
Five of this area’s World War II veterans, interviewed to tell their experiences for the Pennsylvania Cable Network, will share their stories with the state this Thanksgiving weekend.
“World War II: In Their Own Words — Part 4,” the latest of PCN’s video-diary series, will air on Nov. 27, 28 and 29 from 6 p.m. until midnight.
The series consists of interviews with the men and women who have served Pennsylvania and the United States during World War II, by having them tell their stories uninterrupted, with support by vintage photographs.
Special screenings were held in towns across the state, including one in Uniontown in September. Twenty-seven veterans will air for part four; 130 veterans were interviewed for the entire series.
The local veterans include:
= Fred Luckey, of Connellsville, from the U.S. Army/28th Infantry Division, on Thursday, Nov. 27, at 6:50 p.m.
= Charles Prince, of Somerset, from the U.S. Navy/USS Missouri, on Thursday, Nov. 27, at 9:34 p.m.
= John Sluzarczyk, of West Brownsville, from the U.S. Army/5th Engineers of West Brownsville, on Thursday, Nov. 27, at 11:32 p.m.
= John “Wally” Schroyer, of Connellsville, from the 45th Infantry Division/POW in Italy, on Friday, Nov. 28, at 8:38 p.m.
= Pete Porreca, of Uniontown, from the U.S. Army/702nd Tank Battalion, on Friday, Nov. 28, at 8:56 p.m.
Rick Cochran, director of communications for PCN, said the cable network wanted a nice block of time in its schedule to show the series, to not be interrupted by state legislature coverage or coverage from other hearings.
Thanksgiving weekend, said Cochran, was the best week they could find since the average time each veteran spends on screen varies from 15 to 30 minutes.
Part one of the series originally aired last Thanksgiving; part two aired on Christmas last year; and part three landed this June 5, 6 and 7, for the anniversary of the D-day invasion.
While the cable network doesn’t subscribe to a ratings service to let them know how many viewers tuned in for the first three installments, Cochran has heard from several people in the state and nationally that the series has received national awards from groups like AMVETS and the National American Legion.
“It has been an honor,” said Cochran. “It’s one our most popular series.”
Cochran said the best segments from the fourth part will be aired on Saturday, and that the series will air in its entirely between the week before Christmas and New Year’s Day, totaling 85 hours of footage.
Hearing the veterans’ experiences in their own words, says Cochran, is a good way to get what happened during World War II down in a “video diary collection” for future generations.
Nearly 1.25 million state residents served in the various armed forces during World War II. Besides Pennsylvania’s contribution of troops, the state also played a major role in industries on the homefront that supported the war effort.
PCN has VHS tapes of all interviews available for purchase. For more information, visit the PCN Web site at www.pcntv.com and click on the Other Specials/Series section of the PCN Store or call toll-free at 1-866-PCN-VIDEO.