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"What really amazed me is the respect the youngsters showed us and their eagerness to learn about what our generation experienced"

by Al Tortolano - November 10, 2006

Al Tortolano speaks about his experiences sharing his story with our youth

Al Tortolano, one of our founding members.

When I was first approached about doing my story for this project nearly five years ago, I was a little apprehensive. But after meeting with the people at the Digital Clubhouse Network in Sunnyvale, and hearing and seeing what they were trying to do, I agreed to produce my “digital story” about being an infantryman in the Texas 36th and a part of the famous “Lost Battalion.”

I honestly believe that these stories should be preserved for future generations so that people will know what we did in World War II, and what we went through to keep America safe. It was also great therapy for me, as I am sure it will be for other veterans. The experience brought back so many memories, both good and bad.

I especially enjoyed working with the young people who helped me put my story together on the computer. My group included more than a dozen high school students who were helping other veterans produce their stories during my session, including Rudy Tokiwa, a member of the all-Japanese American 442nd Regiment that rescued my unit during the war, and whom I thank in my story.

Al speaks at a Veteran's Day presentation.

What really amazed me is the respect the youngsters showed us and their eagerness to learn about the War and what our generation experienced more than 60 years ago. Based on my experience working with them on this project over the past several years, I have no qualms about leaving our country in their capable hands.

I am proud to have been one of the first veterans in my community to participate in this very worthwhile project, and intend to continue to stay involved over to help assure that it will continue as long as there are Stories of Service to be preserved and shared. 

Here’s hoping that we can get greater exposure for this program so that more veterans will come forward with their stories.



Al Tortolano
Past State Commander
Disabled American Veterans
Department of California

Related Stories (Videos)

Italian Nisei

Al's battalion is rescued by the heroic members of the Japanese-American 442nd RCT.

A Nisei's Fight for Freedom

Rudy and the 442nd/100 Regimental Combat team rescue the lost battalion.

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