Our nation's World War II veterans are leaving us at a rapid rate. Thanks to the wonderful volunteers around the nation, some of their stories have been saved. These wonderful men and women who we refer to as the Greatest Generation firmly believed in patriotism and their duty to their country. Here is a recent release as the Library of Congress celebrates 10 years of documenting the stories of horror, valor, and love of country.
Veterans History Project Commemorates First Decade with New Web Feature
They served. Regardless of their opinions on war, the horrors they witnessed on the front lines, the conditions under which they lived on the home front, their rank, race, religion or gender – they answered the call to duty and they served.
The latest installment of the Veterans History Project’s (VHP) Experiencing War website feature, titled "VHP: The First Ten Years," has launched in time for nationwide Veterans Day observances. The website feature, one of 32 created thus far, highlights the wartime stories of 20 veterans who represent a cross-section of the more than 70,000 collections donated to the project during its first decade of existence. VHP staff members selected these collections from among their favorites and as representative of the diversity and depth of the project. Some of the veterans have been featured in previous installments of Experiencing War, while others will be new to users of the site, www.loc.gov/vets/.
"Our theme for this commemorative season has been ‘Illuminating the Future by Sharing the Past,’" said VHP Director Robert Patrick. "This latest web feature does just that. It shows the realities of war from 20 diverse and captivating perspectives so that people, generations from now, will be able to hear, see, and learn from these firsthand accounts."
Each veteran in "VHP: The First Ten Years" describes the wartime veteran experience in ways that are thoughtful, touching, and often riveting. Spotlighted in the feature is Vietnam Army nurse Elizabeth Allen, an African-American woman who discusses her experiences, unique due to both race and gender. Frank Buckles, the last surviving World War I veteran, shares his experiences in the feature as an Army ambulance driver. Marine Corps veteran Paul Steppe served during the Korean War and conveys his tale of survival after being wounded and then having his medical transport plane lose its landing gear upon takeoff. Herman Rosen was a Merchant Marine during World War II who spent 23 days in a lifeboat at sea after his ship was hit by a torpedo. Persian Gulf War Medical Officer Rhonda Cornum, on a mission to rescue a downed pilot, was captured by the Iraqis and held for seven harrowing days.
The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.
Congress created The Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center (www.loc.gov/folklife/) to record, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at www.loc.gov/vets/. Volunteer interviewers may pledge to record a veteran’s story at the site, or they may request more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.
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