A new book chronicles 182 years of stories from a small Clinton County community’s veterans, from the battlefield and beyond.
“Germantown is the oldest settlement/community in Illinois. So I went back as far as the Black Hawk Indian War. The book also includes veterans from the Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Mid East wars, and peacetime veterans,” said Germantown resident Mary Jansen Parrent, who is the book’s author and also chairs the Family History Committee of the Germantown Historical Society, which helped publish the book.
Lest We Forget, War Stories and Memories of Germantown, Illinois Veterans honors and preserves first-hand accounts and reflections of the veterans of the community of about 1,300 people, Jansen Parrent said.
“Since many vets here know me and my family, many have given honest and touching accounts of war experiences,” said Jansen Parrent, who has also penned a book on her town’s history entitled, Germantown.
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Lest We Forget is the result of the Germantown Historical Society’s “Veterans Project,” which began in 2012 as an effort to maintain local veterans’ records. Many veterans were interviewed. As word spread, families of deceased veterans also began to come forward, providing photographs and information about their loved ones until there were files on 226 local service members.
“It is hard to believe the incredible courage, bravery and the sacrifices they were all willing to make for their country. Many times we laughed together, but sometimes after an interview I cried. I often hugged them when they left the interview,” Jansen Parrent said. “I wrote this book to honor them all. But more than that, I wanted to try to give my readers an idea of what they went through, the fear they experienced, the sights, sounds and smells… everything.”
Several generations of Jansen Parrent’s own family are part of the book. Her grandfather served in World War I. Her father and two uncles were in in World War II, an uncle served in Korea.
“Many (of my) friends went to Vietnam and are now dying from being there,” Jansen Parrent said. “Two childhood playmates were killed in Vietnam.”
The 160-page book also contains a history of Germantown American Legion Post 325 and an album of photographs from veterans and their families.
The 8 1/2-by-11-inch coffee table edition has a full-color, hardbound cover. Acid-free, high-gloss, double coated paper will be used for superior photo re-production. There are both black-and-white and color images.
Jansen Parrent said the experience of writing Lest We Forget “was like no other” in her life.
“I’ve learned that we can never repay them,” she said. “But we must all certainly honor them whenever we can.”
How to place an order
The book, which will published by M.T. Publishing Co. Inc. of Evansville, Ind., will be released on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2015. However, only a limited number of books will be printed. Therefore, it is necessary to take all orders in advance.
The Germantown Historical Society is currently taking pre-orders. The deadline for pre-ordering is Aug. 31.
If ordered before the pre-order deadline, you may have your copy personalized with a name stamping on the cover for $7. The pre-order price is only $40. Shipping and handling is $5 for the first book, $4 each additional.
To reserve a limited edition copy, fill out the order form attached to this story and remit it, along with payment, before the pre-order deadline.
Pre-order forms will also be available at the St. Boniface Church Picnic, from any member of the Germantown Historical Society, on the website, gtownhistoricalsociety.com.