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Veterans Day is a time to honor all who have served in the American military, but much of this year’s tribute focused on one group that is quickly disappearing.

Members of the “Greatest Generation” who fought in World War II are dying at a rate of almost 500 per day, according to the Veterans Administration. With each year, the window to document their stories shrinks.

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., spent much of Wednesday afternoon in Albemarle County with veterans and their families. Warner also met with organizers of a project to document local veterans’ stories on video for the Library of Congress.

Warner watched a preview of the videos, filmed by a local nonprofit organization called ParadeRest, at the University of Virginia Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon.

“If we don’t capture these voices, in a decade from now the number is going to be exponentially smaller,” said Warner, who also attended a ceremony dedicated to World War II veterans at American Legion Post 74 in Keswick on Wednesday.

The senator said his father served during World War II, but he did not like to talk about his experience. He did not begin to open up, Warner said, until about 15 years ago.

Two veterans interviewed for the project — Dr. Jim Kavanaugh and James Bingler — were on hand to watch the preview with their families. Warner thanked them for their service during the war.

“We wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for your efforts,” he said.

Bingler, 91, and Kavanaugh, 90, had distinctly different experiences during the war. Bingler was on the ground during the Battle of the Bulge and spent time in a prisoner of war camp. Kavanaugh was a radio operator on a B-17 bomber crew.

They were part of a “very diverse” group of 53 men and women interviewed for the project, said Javier Badillo, program coordinator at ParadeRest. Others interviewed included nurses, men who had seen combat, people stationed in the U.S. and abroad, and one French citizen who talked about living in Nazi-occupied France.

“Overall, the project has been above and beyond expectations,” said Badillo.

In the spring, the group plans to interview survivors of the Korean War and has plans to do the same for subsequent American conflicts.

Kavanaugh said he wished someone had done the same for his father, who trained to be a pilot in World War I. He said he only heard “bits and pieces” about his father’s service growing up.

“I never heard a complete story,” he said. “I didn’t realize how much it would have meant … My own children are so grateful they have this.”

Many war veterans have never opened up completely about their experiences. Like Warner’s father, Bingler was quiet about what had happened to him. Bingler said he and his wife tried to avoid the subject because it was so upsetting.

“Anyone who has ever been on the front lines knows you go all to pieces when you talk about it,” he said.