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Byron Vinyard of Steeleville, Illinois talks about the Tri-State Living History Association, an organization dedicated to educating the public about World War II soldiers by maintaining collections of WWII items, gathering stories of veterans who served, and taking part in living history events.
On a cold and blustery Veterans Day in 2008, Vinyard, also known as "Cooky," honored local veterans by cooking a delicious lunch at the Steeleville American Legion. Vinyard serves in the Association's Quartermaster Corps and has painstakingly assembled a working collection of WWII field stoves and other gear that would have been right at home on the battlefield.
Vinyard says veterans frequently tell him stories about their service during these events and last Veterans Day was no exception. While Vinyard was cooking, Navy veteran Harry Reid of Rockwood, Illinois shared his memories of the day his ship, the U.S.S. Chicago, a heavy cruiser, was sunk by the Japanese on January 30, 1943. Reid survived by jumping from the sinking ship and was later picked up by a Navy destroyer.
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