Numerous events honoring Veterans were organized around the
country last Veterans Day. The Library of Congress and the
Veterans History Project staff were proud to participate.
On November 11, the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington,
accompanied Tennessee Congressman Zach Wamp to launch the Veterans
History Project in Chattanooga. Congressman Wamp, local veterans
and dignitaries honored the day with the announcement that
sixteen counties in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia will
help launch a project to collect the memories of military veterans.
Interview space and equipment for a 30-month project will
be provided by Erlanger Hospital working in conjunction with
Channel 3 Eyewitness News, and First Tennessee.
VHP representatives, along with founding sponsor AARP, hosted
a day-long program in Sacramento, California. The program
opened with the University of California, Davis, ROTC providing
a Color Guard. Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Director of the
Veterans History Project, along with Celia Esquivel, Associate
State Director of AARP, welcomed the participants. Brigadier
General Donald E. Mattson, USA (Ret.), Director of
the California Military Museum, delivered the keynote speech
underscoring the importance of collecting oral histories of
veterans. Ed Berman, President of the Rossmoor Veterans History
Project, conducted an oral history demonstration with Lillian
Hominda, a Marine who served in WWII. Brigadier General Ezell
Ware, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General of the California National
Guard, made brief remarks at the official partners meeting
following the public event. At 11/11/11:00 a.m., the audience
observed a moment of silence to recognize veterans who have
served our country. The VHP National Registry of Service was
announced at the partner meeting. (http://www.loc.gov/vets/news-registry.html).
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the National Park Service
co-hosted the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial, November 6-11, with special events
and activities. VHP staff, Peter Bartis and Sheila Dyer, made
personal contact with hundreds of participants. Over 58,000
names are inscribed on the black granite wall of the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial. These names were read aloud in November
for the third time since the wall's dedication in 1982,
when the first reading took place.
Every November the town of Branson, Missouri, provides an
opportunity to recognize the service American veterans have
rendered to their country. During the week preceding November
11, veterans are welcomed at receptions, reunions, and banquets.
The town's newspaper, television station, and businesses
unite to honor, entertain, and provide free meals to local
and visiting veterans. Program officer Virginia Sorkin represented
the VHP in Branson.
- If your contact information has changed since you
filed your partner form, please let us know by calling 202-707-4916,
or write to the Veterans History Project, American Folklife
Center 101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington DC 20540-4615.
- Please note that mail is still slow due to security measures.
Other means of communication are recommended.
Five Star Council Member
Five Star Council Profile: Everett
Everett Alvarez, Jr., a founding member of the Veterans History
Project Five Star Council, was the first American aviator shot
down over North Vietnam. He was a POW for eight and one-half
years and was released in 1973. Mr. Alvarez returned to the
U.S. to earn a Juris Doctorate from the George Washington School
of Law after which he served in program management at the Naval
Air Systems Command in Washington, D.C., until his retirement
from the Navy in 1980. In 1982, he was nominated Deputy Administrator
of the Veterans Administration by President Reagan.
Mr. Alvarez left the position of VA Deputy Administrator in
May 1986. He held the position of Vice President for Government
Services with Hospital Corporation of America until the fall
of 1987 when he formed his own consulting company, Conwall
Incorporated. Mr. Alvarez is the author of two books: Chained
Eagle, a historical account of his captivity in Vietnam; and Code
of Conduct, the story of the rebuilding of his life.
Representative Joe Baca Honors
U.S Representative Joe Baca spoke at the Library of Congress
on October 1 on "Honoring Latino Veterans Through the
Veterans History Project" on the occasion of Hispanic
Heritage Month. The Congressman is an inspired speaker and
spoke entertainingly and poignantly about his own service experiences
during the Vietnam War era. He served in the U.S. Army as a
paratrooper with both the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions
VHP Highlighted from Coast to Coast
National Book Festival
Veterans History Project staff had an opportunity to share
project information at the second National Book Festival, October
12. The Library of Congress Pavilion on the West Lawn of the
U.S. Capitol welcomed its share of the 40,000 attendees. In
a presentation on Collecting Wartime Memories, former U. S.
Congressman Sam Gibbons and American Folklife Center Director
Peggy Bulger demonstrated how to conduct an oral interview.
Festival celebrities included award-winning writer Tony
Hillerman who served in combat in World War II and was awarded
the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and
the Purple Heart after being wounded in 1945. Other authors
of note included David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize
in 1964 for his Vietnam reportage, and Gail Buckley whose most
recent book is entitled American Patriots: The Story
of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm.
Mr. Gibbons and Ms. Buckley are members of the VHP Five Star
San Diego AARP Convention
The Veterans History Project gained new friends and participants
among the 11,000 who attended the September 12 AARP national
convention in San Diego. Veterans, their spouses, and retirees
seeking new careers as oral historians stopped to hear about
the project, view a five-minute promotional video, and
investigate the project's Web site http://www.loc.gov/vets/ at
the VHP large exhibition booth, a very visible and popular
addition to the convention's program, "Life @ 50+."
The Library of Congress was also represented at the convention
by Deputy Librarian Donald L. Scott, who retired from the U.S.
Army with the rank of brigadier general. General Scott spoke
movingly about the project and generated much interest among
the 7,500 AARP members at the plenary session. He appeared
on the dais with Walter Cronkite, a member of the Veterans
History Project Five Star Council. The previous evening, both
participated in the Korean War Service ceremony honoring veterans
who received service medals. The ceremony was the result of
an AARP and U. S. Department of Defense project to locate American
service men and women who served in Korea.
VHP staff Sarah Rouse, Nancy Mitchell, and Jason Lee spoke
personally with more than 500 veterans and distributed hundreds
of project brochures, bookmarks, and buttons. "It was
very exiting for the project to see the enthusiasm on the part
of the AARP members," said Rouse, senior program officer. "Many
people were intrigued that a government project was interested
in their own personal experiences-that their experiences
could be a part of the historical record at the Library of
The AARP, with a membership of 35 million, is the founding
corporate sponsor of the Veterans History Project. AARP plans
a number of events and programs supporting and promoting the
Veterans History Project.
The current VHP holdings passed the 4,000 mark in December,
an exponential increase from about 600 last year at this time.
Actual items amount to over 15,000. Based on the recent partner
survey, we estimate thousands more interviews are on their
way to us. Our official partner number is over 500, up from
115 of a year ago! About 100,000 kits have been distributed
in the last year. Partners contributed 40% of the VHP
Partner Survey Information
Results from the partner survey indicate many interesting
projects underway. Some of the roadblocks, not surprisingly,
involve the initial impetus of getting started and obtaining
funding. On the latter topic, local humanities councils may
prove helpful, also direct appeals to local groups and businesses.
The non-profit, non-partisan Foundation Center materials
are available in many libraries, and their Web site is http://fdncenter.org.
This organization provides information on various funding sources.
Please visit the Library of Congress American Memory Web site
for recently added information on Pearl Harbor, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/afcphhtml/afcphhome.html as
well as on Military Battles and Campaigns, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/milhome.html.
- To arrange a free interview workshop in your area,
please call our Training Coordinator, David Albee, at 202-707-3410
or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with
the date, place, and time you would like to host a workshop,
indicate how many participants you will have (a group
of about 20 to 30 is suggested), and who the partner
organization contact will be. Using the talents of AFS and
OHA members across the country, we will locate a workshop
leader near you and have that person call you to make arrangements.
- Our founding sponsor, AARP, offers a free online tutorial Remembrance: Recording
Veterans' Oral Histories at http://www.aarp.org/learn (AARP
- Please write us for our Event Planning and Publicity
Toolkit, or to download the text, please go to http://www.loc.gov/vets/vets-partners.html.
G.W. Duquette Envelopes
Donated by G.W. Duquette: 60 envelopes sent to his wife
from the Pacific during World War II. These air mail envelopes
are distinguished by water-color cartoons by the donor's
friend, Samuel Boylston, of South Carolina. The artwork depicts
scenes of the friends' "Jungle Life," featuring
boredom, letter writing, drinking, and goofing around. Prior
to the war, Samuel Boylston was an art student. Upon his return
to the United States, he entered law school and became a State
Representative from South Carolina. Well preserved and extensive
in subject matter, these envelopes are a unique and exciting
addition to the collection.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Five Star Council Profile
Congressman Joe Baca
The U.S. Census Bureau featured a number of interesting
statistics on Veterans Day*#058;
Based on Census 2000, veterans in the United States number
26.4 million - counting persons "18 years old
and over who, at the time of the enumeration, had served
on active duty in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine
Corps or Coast Guard in the past (even for a short
time), but were not then on active duty, or who had
served in the Merchant Marine during World War II." This
adds up to 13% of the civilian population 18 or over.
- Nearly 6 million served in World War II.
- About 4 million served in the Korean War.
- More than 8 million served during the Vietnam era.
- About 3 million served since August 1990, which includes
Persian Gulf War veterans. U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs data indicate that, as of 1999, there were 2.2
million Gulf War veterans.
Source9 U.S. Census Bureau Public Information Office (301)
Media Coverage of the Project
Parade Magazine, ABC, USA Today, MSNBC,
CBS, NPR, Washington Post, Roll Call, Stars and Stripes,
and many other media outlets have featured the Veterans
History Project recently. USA Today in its December
16, 2002, article referred to the VHP as follows: "The
Library of Congress program, barely two years old, may
be the most ambitious effort both in scope... . It also
carries the imprimatur of a government project within the
nation's largest and most prestigious library." The
article noted the late Stephen Ambrose's Eisenhower
Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans
with oral histories from veterans of D-Day and the
Battle of the Bulge, the Marine Corps Historical Center
in Washington,D.C., the U.S. Army Military History Institute
in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Latinos and Latinas
World War II Oral History Project at the University of
Texas-Austin, and the Women in Military Service for
America Memorial Foundation.
The VHP Web site logged over 20,000 hits on Veterans Day
thanks to the publicity on ABC News and Parade Magazine.
VHP partners come in a variety of guises. For instance,
two cities are working collectively to preserve the histories
of their veterans. The City of Forks, Washington,
was the first community partner to join the Veterans History
Project with the sanction of the city council and Mayor
Nedra Reed, a former "army-brat." The moving
force behind this effort is Rod Fleck, City Attorney/Planner
and a U. S. Air Force veteran, who has been active in engaging
local veterans organizations and members of the local Quileute
Tribe, as well as local schools under the aegis of Frank
Walter, Superintendent of the Quillayute Valley School
District. The City of Warwick, Rhode Island, is
the second city to become an official partner. The Mayor
of Warwick, Scott Avedisian, is asking teachers and students
to participate in the project as a way of linking the city's
five high schools with the larger community.
Temple Emanu-El, Palm Beach, Florida
Dr. Haviva Langenauer of Temple Emanu-El in Palm
Beach, Florida, writes of their Eyewitness to History program
interviewing WWII veterans: "Thank you for all
of your help. I don't know if anyone is doing a report
of the psychological effects of interviewing these elderly
men. All I can say is that it certainly makes a difference
in their lives. They stand taller, hold their heads higher.
I had two of the veterans give us 5 minutes of anecdotes
from their tapes when we commemorated Pearl Harbor. It
was an incredible experience. Our total event was very
emotional and moved people to tears." This Pearl Harbor
Commemoration also featured music from the era.
Young Marines of California, Michigan, and Ohio
The Young Marines continue their fine work. In Sacramento,
we were pleased to meet a contingent of the Nor Cal Young
Marines with their commanding officer, Lisa Romero. The
Veterans History Project celebrated the efforts of the
Young Marines of Monroe County, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio,
at a ceremony on October 24. In one of the beautiful, 19th
century Library of Congress rooms, 12-year-old
Lance Cpl. Edward Litten and others were cited for their
enthusiastic involvement in the project, which has resulted
in 18 videotaped oral interviews.
Veterans Day Commemorations
- Indiana Senator Richard G. Lugar's staff
worked with students of Paoli to collect veterans' stories
for the VHP collection, and also with students of the
Park Tudor School of Indianapolis on a book-signing
of Words of War: Wartime Memories from the Civil
War Through the Gulf War at a public library in Greenfield.
- In Farwell, Michigan, the Surrey Township Public
Library with the Library Teen Council launched their
official partnership with the VHP. The Michigan Oral
History Association, Michigan Department of History,
Arts and Libraries, Michigan State University Museum's
folklife unit, and other organizations hosted an all-day
oral history workshop. MOHA will support the Friends
of Michigan History with an annual recognition of veterans.
- On November 12, 2002, The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary,
First Southern Region, and Shaker High School, Latham, New
York, two Veterans History Project Partners, honored
their local veterans during an evening program held at
the high school. The program, which included guest speakers,
video clips, and music, featured the Veterans History
Project. A highlight of the evening's program came
when 39 completed interviews were presented to guest
speaker Tim Schurtter, a Veterans History Project program
- The Mary L. Cook Public Library in Waynesville, Ohio,
created a display of memorabilia collected in conjunction
with the Veterans History Project.
- The Pacific Theater Project of Mountain Green, Utah,
is creating a library of broadcast-quality digital
video interviews with Pacific theater WWII veterans,
and two series of educational documentaries. The Digital
Video Library of WWII Pacific Theater Veterans is to
be located in the Center for Pacific War Studies at the
National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg,
- The National D-Day Memorial Foundation conducted
two ceremonies at the site of the National D-Day
Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.
- The Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library in West
Virginia, local television station WBOY, and Fairmont
State College produced a week-long celebration
Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center,
Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-4615
Newsletter contributors: Peter Bartis, Anneliesa
Clump, Nancy Mitchell, Rebecca Petersen, Tim Roberts, Sarah
Rouse, Tim Schurtter, Virginia Sorkin, Taru Spiegel.
Newsletter email: email@example.com