WMUK General Manager helps launch "Military Voices Initiative"

Dec 3, 2012

WMUK General Manager Gordon Bolar was in Washington D.C. on Monday as StoryCorps launched a new oral history project. The Military Voices Initiative will help tell the stories of military personnel, veterans and their families.

Recently Gordon Bolar shared the story of his son, Cpl. Matthew T. Bolar, with StoryCorps founder David Isay. Matthew Bolar was killed in Iraq in 2007 on his second tour of duty. The story aired on NPR’s Morning Edition the day after Thanksgiving.

Cpl. Matthew T. Bolar

WMUK sponsored a StoryCorps residency in 2007. On the heels of that Gordon Bolar received the news that Matthew was killed in Iraq.  Gordon Bolar says the people who came to Bronson Park to talk with loved ones inspired him to tell his son’s story. It’s “one of courage, honor and service to the country.” 

Bolar says he hopes that in the future StoryCorps and the Military Voices Initiative will come to Kalamazoo. But he says nothing is definite. Bolar says he was glad to have the chance to tell Matthew’s story for StoryCorps. He found it empowering and healing. Bolar says he would encourage other families of service members and veterans to share their stories. But he says everyone has to decide how much they want to share.  The recorded stories are archived at the Library of Congress, participants get a CD copy. Some of the stories will be broadcast on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.  Bolar says he remembers his dad telling stories about his service in the Navy during World War II. “I always wished that somebody should write this down.” He says StoryCorps is providing the chance to preserve those stories.  

Bolar says every time he stands in front of his son’s grave in Section 60 in Arlington Cemetery 

“I see those headstones, and I know there are stories connected with each of those veterans there from the family members of the loved ones who served. I’m glad StoryCorps has started this initiative.”