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First-time VHP participant moved by story of WWII veteran

NCRA member Juanita Price, RPR, an official court reporter with the Washington, D.C., Superior Court, recently transcribed the oral history of a World War II U.S. Army veteran, as told to his daughter, in honor of 2023 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Price joined U.S. Army veteran Pete Anastasi, who is 101 years old, his wife of 77 years, Betty, and their daughter Ellen Anastasi Patterson, at the Caton Merchant House, an assisted living facility in Manassas, Va. The JCR Weekly reached out to Price to learn more about what the experience meant to her and what she would say to encourage others to consider volunteering for Veterans History Project (VHP) events.

Price with Anastasi and his daughter Ellen

JCR | Have you participated in a VHP event before?

JP | No, I have not. This is my first time writing a veteran’s story in person.

JCR | What did you take away from this interview with Pete Anastasi?

JP | My takeaway is that life can take you in a direction you may have never thought of taking; however, it was the best direction for your life to take. Mr. Anastasi was such a pleasure to meet, and writing his veteran’s life story touched my heart in ways that are beyond words. My father, Charles Nock, was a World War II veteran, and listening to Mr. Anastasi’s life story was very similar, whereby he dropped out of school to help take care of the family due to the loss of a parent. It took everything in me not to begin to cry when I heard him talk about that aspect of his life.

Anastasi sharing his story with Price

JCR | What would you say to other court reporters and captioners to encourage them to volunteer for this project?

JP | I would encourage any court reporter or captioner to please take the time out of your busy schedule and give back to those who gave to us by putting their lives on the line.

JCR | Why do you think the VHP is so important?

JP | The VHP is important because if we, court reporters and captioners, don’t take the time to capture and record these life stories, they will forever be lost to us.

The skill of a court reporter and captioner is what I call a gift that not many people in this world can do. It is imperative that we volunteer so history can continue to be recorded and be recorded accurately.

If we won’t do it, then who will? So why not? We write the spoken word all the time. Writing history is an exhilarating experience that transcends beyond words. My father passed away in January 2003 from Alzheimer’s, and my heart breaks that I, as his daughter who is a court reporter/captioner, never wrote his story. I only know so much about his veteran’s life story. But it sure would have been spectacular to have captured it stenographically.

Anastasi’s daughter Ellen, who helped Price interview him for the VHP project, felt it was important to share his story. “I felt honored to interview my father for the Veterans History Project,” she said. “I feel he epitomizes the struggles of so many, especially first generation Italian immigrants. His family was poor, and their education was limited. His father died when he was a teenager, and he quit school to help support his family. He worked hard all of his life to make a better life for himself and his family. I consider my father an amazing man, and I am so proud to be his daughter.” 

To learn more, or to volunteer, visit the Veterans History Project page.