Last Saturday, 25 February 2017, I gave my third WWII program on research and writing at the CRASH Airwar Museum near Amsterdam, Netherlands. We had a bit of a glitch as I brought my brand new laptop and didn’t realize it only had the HDMI port. The museum didn’t have that cord or connection to their beamer. Sometimes technology just doesn’t mesh. We made things work and I spoke for an hour on research and told many stories.
Stories have more impact than screen shots of documents.
Capture people with stories full of emotion and you cannot go wrong.
The room was almost filled and I met a lot of new people. I was also able to speak with some I met on previous engagements at the museum. CRASH is one of my favorite places to speak because the men who run the museum and programs are fantastic. It feels a bit like coming home when I am there. The museum collection is amazing too. If you have not visited the museum, I encourage you to do so.
Sebastiaan Vonk, founder of the Foundation United Adopters American War Graves (Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven,) attended to sell my book Faces of War to benefit the foundation’s programs. I signed several books after the program ended and had the opportunity to speak with several people.
Several friends attended the program and our plan was to have lunch afterward. I met a couple who adopted a grave at Margraten. This couple planned to meet me at the program because we had been talking already with the family member of the soldier. The stories they told me were incredible and moving. Not enough stories are told or written about what civilians went through during the war in Europe. Not enough stories are passed down so families can heal their wounds of war, which are invisible in many cases, but felt, through the generations.
As we walked out of the museum, two program attendees who I was not previously friends with on Facebook, stopped to ask questions. We invited them to join us for lunch. Our lunch became not just a gathering of old friends but new ones and many stories were shared across the table. It was FANTASTIC!
How does it get any better than doing what you love, teaching, healing souls, and making new friends at the same time? I look forward to visiting my friends and teaching at the CRASH museum in the future.
© 2017 World War II Research and Writing Center