LAKE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - One Lake County teenager has made it his mission to interview members of "the greatest generation." At first glance, 13-year-old Ben Mac-Jackson looks like any other eighth-grader doing his nightly school work, but what Ben is really doing right now is purely voluntary and truly impressive.
"They said, 'We're going to step up to the plate and fight these people,' not knowing that 70 years later, there'd be people like me trying to preserve their stories for my generation, their generation, and the coming generations. That's my goal," he explains.
Ben is talking about the ever-dwindling crowd of living World War II veterans. A look around his room, and instead of posters of the latest hot movie or hot actresses, you see dog tags, medals, remnants of World War II -- all evidence of this teen's passion, bright future, and current following. Ben spends much of his free time interviewing local WWII veterans on his phone, and then he posts those interviews on this website he created: ww2veteranshistoryproject.com
. So far, he has five interviews posted and seven soon to be posted once they are edited, including one he just did before our interview.
"They were a generation that saved the world," he says. "We'd all be speaking German or Japanese if they didn't step up to the plate and say, 'I'm going to fight,' because most of them were not drafted. They enlisted and said, 'I'm going to fight for our country.'"
When asked what inspired him to do this project, Ben says when he was paging through his history book in the fifth grade and the WWII section just resonated with him. He hopes this is what his future holds: a lifetime preserving the stories of those who fought for our freedom.
"It's estimated by 2036, no more World War II veterans will be left," he says. But thanks to folks like Ben, they'll live on through their stories.