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Andrew Biggio was excited to show his neighbor, a WWII veteran, the M1 Garand rifle he had recently purchased. The weapon was the most common rifle used in WWII, and Biggio thought his elderly neighbor would appreciate holding the gun.
“When I put that rifle into his hands and he raised it into his shoulder and started waving it around the room and pointing and smiling, and we talked about the Battle of Okinawa for like three hours,” Biggio, a Marine veteran himself, recounts.
Biggio was in awe of the stories his elderly neighbor had just shared with him. The rifle had not only triggered memories in the veteran’s mind, but acted like a microphone, propelling the man to describe his war experiences in detail.
Biggio asked his neighbor to sign the rifle becasue he wanted to remember the stories he had just been told, and this gave Biggio the idea to find other WWII veterans and ask them to sign the M1 Garand rifle.
Today, “I have 320 names on that rifle,” Biggio says. “You can’t even see the wooden stalk. The whole rifle’s full of white ink names.”
But the majority of the soldiers who have held the rifle have done much more than signed it, they described their war stories in detail while grasping the weapon, stories which Biggio has compiled into two book.
His first book, “The Rifle: Combat Stories from America’s Last WWII Veterans, Told Through an M1 Garand,” was released in 2021 but could not hold all veteran stories. In September, Biggio released the project’s second edition, “The Rifle 2: Back to the Battlefield.”
Biggio joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to share some of the stories of the WWII veterans he has had the privilege of meeting and writing about.
Enjoy the show!
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