Retirement home bands together to bring WWII stories to life (NBC Nightly News)

Wartime stories from many members of the Dartmouth community are among the reminiscences in World War II Remembered, a new memoir published by residents of Kendal at Hanover and recently featured on the NBC Nightly News.

“The greatest generation is fading from the scene. World War II veterans are dying at the rate of 740 a day,” says NBC anchor Brian Williams. “Some members of that generation are getting their memories down on paper, so we’ll all have them.”

These stories include Clint Gardner ’44, who as an Army first lieutenant landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Now 89 years old, Gardner tells NBC News that although he was wounded in the invasion, his deepest wounds would come later, while witnessing the liberation of the concentration camp at Buchenwald. “I realized that I had been changed by this experience,” he says.

Also featured is Lafayette Noda, now 96, a Japanese American who spent the war in an internment camp in California. Noda, professor of biochemistry emeritus at Dartmouth Medical School, came to Dartmouth in 1957, and taught and served as biochemistry department chair, retiring in 1982. His daughter, Kesaya Noda (a former staff member at Dartmouth) tells NBC that her father was not bitter about his time in the camp. “I would hope that people would feel my father’s hope and remember that image,” she says.

The memoir includes wartime stories from 56 residents living at the Hanover, N.H., retirement community, including John Jenkins ’43, and John Weeks ’44. Also featured are alumni who have died, including Bill Hotaling ’41, Robert Encherman ’42, Edward Scheu ’46, Malcolm McLane ’46, and Robert Allen ’48. In addition, there are memories from former provost and physics professor Agnar Pytte, emeritus professor Robert Sokol, former Tuck School of Business Dean John Hennessey, and Mary Mecklin Jenkins, whose father taught at Dartmouth.

Watch the NBC Nightly News story, which ran on February 2, 2012.