Ray Slaughter (right), 75 

What I Do

It's a book of memories. It's the memories of all the guys that were killed in World War II from Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield. It's left in the chapel of the hospital. Every page is dated, and there are three names on each page. The next date, we turn it to three more names.

I go turn the page in the morning, between 8 and 8:30, usually. I go and have me a cup of coffee and read the paper, and then me and somebody else, or maybe two other people, will go and turn the page.

The book weighs about 40 pounds. You have to consider there's 984 names in the book, three to a page. Two people have to do it. One has to put gloves on because we don't want the oil of the hands to disintegrate the pages. So one has to lift the lid so that the other person can turn the page. I've been doing it about two-and-a-half years.

I didn't fight in that war, but my brother did. His name is on one of the plaques, sometime in October. I found out that the book was there and my brother's name was in it, and I kind of elected myself to do part of it. His name was William B. Slaughter. That was 50 years ago, 55 years ago. I'm 75. It's kind of hard to remember back that far. In fact, I have trouble remembering yesterday.

I feel that I have a vested interest in this book because my brother's name is in it. He was about five years older than me. I remember some of the silly things we did as kids.

All of this was commissioned by the hospital. A gentleman hand-did all the names in this book. It's beautifully done, with hand lettering and gold trimming. … You'd have to see it to appreciate it. I'll do it as long as I'm [volunteering] at the hospital. As long as I can stay vertical, I should say.


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