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May 14, 2014
Veterans History Project Remembers D-Day, National World War II Reunion With Exhibits, Commemorative Event
The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) is sponsoring a series of exhibits and a special event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the turning point of World War II in Europe on June 6, 1944 – also known as D-Day – and the 10th anniversary of the National World War II Reunion, one of the events for the dedication of the National World War II Memorial.
The exhibits and event will educate the public on the significance of D-Day and reunite volunteers who gathered nearly 3,000 World War II veterans’ collections over Memorial Day Weekend in 2004.
During the National World War II Reunion, more than 100 volunteers from the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and other organizations collected veterans' stories of wartime service for VHP. Clad in purple VHP T-shirts and armed with audio recorders, the volunteers roamed the National Mall looking for veterans willing to participate. Once identified, veterans were asked a series of questions about their experiences during the war. For many, this was the first time they had spoken about their personal wartime experiences. These special on-the-spot recordings have since been digitized and are fully accessible on VHP’s website, www.loc.gov/vets/. In addition to recorded interviews, these collections also include letters, photographs and written memoirs. Photos from this historic event may be found at www.loc.gov/vets/wwii-photos-mallinterviews.html.
"The dedicated corps of VHP ‘Man-on-the-Mall’ interviewers was essential to the success of this effort," said Veterans History Project Director Robert Patrick. "They skillfully provided an opportunity for World War II veterans to open their hearts and minds and relate their inspirational wartime experiences."
"Our volunteers did a great service during the National World War II Reunion, not just to veterans and their families, but for the national record in furthering the collection and preservation of veterans' stories at the Library of Congress. It was an incredible experience, knowing that for many World War II veterans this might be the last national gathering," recalls Anneliesa Clump Alprin, the then VHP public-affairs specialist who helped to manage the volunteers.
VHP World War II Commemorative Activities:
Unless otherwise noted, all public programming is free and open to the public and will be held in the Thomas Jefferson Building, located at 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.
Now – June 9, 2014
VHP highlights the collections of veterans who were at Normandy on D-Day and from the historic "Man-on-the-Mall" interviews.
Location: Display cases, Great Hall, North Gallery on the first floor
"MAN-ON-THE-MALL" WEBSITE FEATURE
An online exhibit of digitized collections captures memories of battle, heroic moments, stark realizations about the realities of war and much-needed humor, as told by the men and women who were there.
Friday, May 23, 5-7 p.m.
VHP hosts, "Relive the Reunion. Refresh Your Participation," to reunite volunteers from the 2004 "Man-on-the-Mall" interview collection project and to provide updates on the project’s progress over the past decade. Light refreshments will be served.
Location: Great Hall
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center (www.loc.gov/folklife/) to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of wartime veterans who served in the United States military in any capacity from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. VHP relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using easy-to-follow guidelines accessible at www.loc.gov/vets/. Volunteers may request more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to VHP’s RSS on the VHP home page.
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