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'Home Town Heroes — War Memories Through Their Eyes' features local veterans

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, a project begun two years ago by a south county veteran will become a reality — just in time for Veterans Day.

"Home Town Heroes — War Memories Through Their Eyes,'' a book featuring 143 stories written by local veterans, will be unveiled. The brainchild of Bud Bornemann, a World War II veteran and longtime resident of Sunset Hills, "Home Town Heroes'' is a hard-bound book featuring 288 pages of stories beginning with World War I and World War II, and going through the wars in Korea, Vietnam and Kuwait.

Bornemann got the idea for the book after reading Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation'' and Stephen Ambrose's "Citizen Soldiers.''

"Their stories made me think — almost everyone who served in the U.S. armed services must have a story to tell,'' he stated in a news release. "Through the years I heard many stories from my friends and acquaintances. Then the idea struck me — there should be enough stories in our own area to write a book. Why not?"

Bornemann took the idea to the Sappington-Concord Historical Society on July 11, 2001, and received approval to proceed with the project. A small committee was formed and was given the task of editing the narratives received.

"I assigned one story to each of the committee members. This first round took almost two months to complete. At this rate, it would take years to edit our goal of about 100 stories,'' he recalled.

Nearly a year after the book project started, Bornemann had 35 narratives and was looking for a volunteer to give him major assistance. Enter Jill Borage, an active volunteer in the Lindbergh School District who has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Borage volunteered her time to work with Bornemann soliciting additional stories, organizing and copying photos, editing the manuscripts, making numerous phone calls to check facts and obtain more information and meeting with publishers.

Bornemann wrote many of the introductions to set the stage for the stories, and also the introductions to the chapters.

"It was a lot of reading and writing too," he stated. "We are especially excited about some of the stories in our book. These are stories that were witnessed by our authors as they experienced them. Did you know that during WWII an ammunition ship caught fire in New York harbor? If it had exploded, the entire waterfront would have been wiped out. Because of wartime security, this is a story that was never published, but now it can be told."

In honor of Veterans Day, "Home Town Heroes — War Memories Through Their Eyes'' will be released Tuesday, Nov. 11. A "Meet the Authors" event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Anne Morrow Lindbergh Room on the Lindbergh High School campus, 4900 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

The books may be purchased for $25. Editors Bornemann and Borage and many of the book's authors will be on hand to sign books.

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