What Story and Why
How to Tell
Research is Fun
Veterans History Project
In the United States there are thousands of American Veterans - men and women who have served their country in various 20th century wars. Each of them has a story, often a vivid and heartfelt account that is not a history of war but personal recollections that make us laugh, cry and remember.
Veterans History Project
collects and preserves the extraordinary wartime stories of ordinary
people. It is a project of the American Folklore Center of the Library of Congress. The United States
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 and it is an
ongoing project. It received a great boost of publicity from
release of The War: A Ken
Burns Film, the in-depth documentarythat aired on PBS
the more recent documentary by Burns on the Vietnam War makes it even
more apparent how important it is to preserve the stories of veterans.
The Veterans History Project relies on volunteers to interview, record, compile and donate materials. All are encouraged to participate: veterans, civilians, adults, young people, men, women, scholars, students, amateurs, and experts. In turn, participants can rely on the Library of Congress to preserve, catalog, and share these collections now and in the future.
stories can be told through personal narratives in written form,
audio oral history or video-taped interviews. Also valuable are
correspondence such as letters, postcards and personal diaries. Visual
materials are also helpful including photographs, scrapbooks and
Anyone can help preserve a veteran's personal history. The Veterans History Project website has a great deal of information on how to collect story information and submit it to them. You can even submit a story online. But it is wise to start by requesting the free Project kit available by download or mail.
Another wonderful aspect of the Veterans History Project site is the opportunity to discover some of the many stories that you can read and view. These compelling accounts of wartime service are from men and women, civilian and military, representing many ranks, jobs, branches of service, and theaters of war. Their stories — told in their own words through letters, diaries, and oral history interviews — teach us, amuse us, and inspire us. They also sometimes sadden us, with tales of lost lives, lost time, and lost innocence, all in service to our country.
is the month we remember those who've served with Veterans Day
(November 11). We also recognize the many members of our Armed Forces
currently deployed around the world.