It is our goal in the Veterans Legacy Program to honor our veterans’ stories through their tellings, emphasizing not only the veteran and their service, but also the time in which they lived. Community outreach is key, especially with the youth of our region who will not only be the stewards of our public history, but also our future storytellers.

To this end, faculty at Black Hills State University offered a 10-day Veterans Legacy Program Graphic Novel Academy for high school and middle school students in June 2018. During these 10 days, students worked with biographies of veterans interred at one of our five veterans’ cemeteries in western South Dakota. Guided by professors in art, history, and creative writing, students created original, hand-drawn panels rendering their chosen veteran’s story in visual form.

This opportunity also included a trip and lunch at Black Hills National Cemetery where many students were able to visit the final resting place of their veteran. The event concluded with a public, professional art exhibit and reception, where students presented their pieces and talked to community members about their veteran and his/her life story.

Please take a moment to peruse our graphic novel gallery; these are the original pieces produced during the Academy, linked with the original biographies.

Patrick and Shirley O’Leary Clarence Wolf Guts Albert Knaak Samuel DeCory Clarence Pesek Charles Alvin Niemi Robert Andrews Charles Windolph Abram B. Brant Dennis Fitzgerald Floyd Vaughn John Bear-King Thomas McKee Wayne Freeland Walter R. Higbee Wendell Hood William Willuweit