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StoryCorps travels to JBER to hear voices

By Shannon Ballard 8:32 PM February 20, 2014

Nonprofit makes sure Alaska’s military members aren't forgotten.

ANCHORAGE - Bernie Kale is on his way to meet with one of the most influential people in his life.

“I looked up to him. He’s been in as long as I’ve been alive,” Bernie Kale said.

He’ll be sitting down with Bernie Kale Sr.

They’re father and son and both in the Alaska Air National Guard.

Thanks to StoryCorps, the Kales are literally becoming part of American history.

“We’re an independent nonprofit and we travel around the country,” said Jill Glaser with StoryCorps. “We ask people who know each other to come into our recording space and have a 40-minute conversation.”

The effort is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.

More than 50,000 conversations have been recorded and archived at the Library of Congress.

“During the interview I will be running the recording equipment, just making sure everything sounds good, but the conversation is primary between you two,” Glaser explained to the Kales.

As part of the Military Voices Initiative, participants at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are encouraged to talk about their experiences.

“I just enjoy hearing the energy that goes back and forth between the two people,” said Daniel Sitts with StoryCorps.

Only one percent of recorded conversations are broadcast to the entire United States.

They’re perfect examples that everyone has a voice to be heard.

“The story is amazing because it’s just so human,” Sitts said.

Both Bernie Kales are learning they have more in common then their name.

“Especially me growing up thinking I have very little in common with my dad only to find out that we are very, very similar,” Bernie Kale Jr. said.

“You can call it bonding or what ever you need to classify it as but I think it’s important for people to just sit down and talk and listen,” Bernie Kale Sr. said.

StoryCorps is creating an archive of American voices and wisdom.

It’s for future generations and perhaps someday for Bernie Kale III.

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