Letters in a shoebox: A World War II veteran’s story

Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 3:25 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Letters written by Guy Swartzlander, a World War II veteran, sat in a shoebox for 80 years. They tell Guy’s account of his tour of duty spent in the United States Army from September, 1942 to November, 1945.

Guy’s son, Jim Swartzlander, gained a new perspective on the war and his father by reading through the letters.

Jim organized the letters and other artifacts, bringing his father’s story to life. In that process, he found not only his father’s firsthand experience, but an opportunity to reflect on his own relationship with his father.

Jim knew he had a significant finding when the collection gained attention from the Indiana State Museum. He began connecting with others who had family in the military. He wanted to get veterans’ stories out of shoeboxes and on display to celebrate their service.

In honor of his father, Jim has put together “A Celebration of Veterans” event, taking place Sunday, where he will share his fathers story, along with collections of photographs and artifacts from “shoeboxes” of other veterans on display for the public.

Jim invites you to join him Sunday, November 13 at the Kendallville Community Center from 12-5 p.m. There will be veteran memorablilia on display, along with a presentation on Guy Swartzlander’s time in the military put together by Jim, along with a 21 gun salute from the honor guard to end the day.