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New Web Site Captures Personal History of Veterans (corrected copy)

By Paul Stone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 1999 – Theirs are stories of days and nights fighting and slogging through muddy fields in Europe, of bloody assaults and mind-and-body-numbing cold on the Korean Peninsula, of tense and lonely watches at sea between fierce battles in the South Pacific.

Theirs are stories of courage and endurance, of selfless service to country, of triumph over fear.

And ultimately, theirs are stories of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines whose names will rarely make it into history books, but whose bravery and willingness to sacrifice all made this the American century.

Now, their stories are yours to read on the new "Home for Heroes" Web site produced by the American Forces Information Service. The site features profiles of the veterans living at the Armed Forces Retirement Home - veterans who served and fought in the nation's wars from World War I through Operation Desert Storm. The site also includes a photographic tour and general information about the retirement homes.

The Armed Forces Retirement Home actually consists of two facilities: the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Naval Home in Gulfport, Miss. Originally established in the mid-1800s to provide safe haven for elderly and disabled soldiers and sailors, they have evolved into retirement communities offering a secure and comfortable life style.

Approximately 1,600 veterans from every military service reside in the retirement homes. Their average age is 76. About 85 percent saw duty in World War II, 30 percent served in Korea and 10 percent in Vietnam. They come from every state in the union. About 150 of the residents are women.

In the first profile on the Web site, readers are introduced to Jack O'Donnell, a veteran who took part in some of World War II's greatest campaigns, including Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

Subsequent profiles will be added to the Web site approximately every two weeks. In addition, a photographic tour of the U.S. Naval Home in Gulfport will soon be added to the site.

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