Rishi Sharma is a unique nineteen-year-old.
Unlike most boys his age, whose idols tend to be youthful sports figures or pop culture icons, Sharma’s heroes are very old, indeed — in many cases — they’re living in nursing homes. Yet his life’s mission is to interview these old men every day until the last one passes away. He’s well on his way.
For years, Sharma has been traveling the country, interviewing World War II veterans and sharing their amazing stories at his website Heroes of the Second World War. He’s interviewed nearly 500 so far.
“I am on mission to interview 2-3 WWII veterans every single day until the last one passes away. I want to absorb the gravity of their sacrifices and hardships, their knowledge, and their wisdom. Please help me in this journey,” Sharma says on his website.
The teen appeared on Fox and Friends on Memorial Day to talk about his mission and his single-minded focus and amazing perspective blew away host Pete Hegseth, an Iraq War veteran. Hegseth asked him why he was doing it.
“Why were a bunch of 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds during World War II willing to give up their entire lives so that I could have a chance at life 75 years later?” Sharma answered, “A lot of people had to die — a lot of people had to get killed so that I could have these opportunities, he added.
He explained that he became fascinated with the WWII vets in high school when he read the books of Stephen Ambrose.
“I was just so shocked about the heroic actions that a bunch of 20- and 21 year-old men did during WWII so I started to look them up and give them a call from the phone book,” he said.
Pretty soon, he was riding his bike to the local senior home to interview veterans there. After that, he rode his bike to another — and then another. When he was able to drive, he’d drive the family car to go to interviews. Sharma got so hooked on interviewing WWII vets, he even “ditched school” to do it, he told Hegseth.
“It just got to a point where I realized, ‘I’m good at this, I enjoy talking to these veterans — it’s therapeutic for a lot of them — I want to do this until the last one dies.'” Sharma said.
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