February 12, 2004
Contacts: Anneliesa Clump (202) 707-9822, [email protected],
Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940, [email protected][email protected]
Web site: http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS VETERANS HISTORY PROJECT
HIGHLIGHTS MORE STORIES OF SERVICE
"Lessons of War" Goes Online
A new collection of 18 fully digitized collections
of materials submitted by veterans and civilians will be available
for the first time on the Library of Congress Web site on Feb.
16 at http://www.loc.gov/vets/stories/.
This is the third set of individual stories—comprising
interviews, letters, photographs and written memoirs—to
be featured on the site, which is titled "Experiencing War:
Stories from the Veterans History Project." Last year, 44
stories on the themes of Courage, Patriotism and Community, Sweethearts,
Family Ties and Buddies debuted. "Lessons of War," the
latest addition of stories, complements the growing online collection.
This third presentation of personal narratives
includes moving tales that span the themes of "mission," "life-altering
experiences" and "hurry up and wait." The digitized
materials are part of the continuing effort by the Library to
make its collections accessible online. The Veterans History
Project of the American Folklife Center plans to make other stories
from the 13,000 submissions the project has received available
in the future.
"We encourage everyone to visit the Veterans
History Project site and learn about ‘lessons of war’ and
to ask a veteran or civilian supporter, ‘What did you do
during the war?" said Peggy Bulger, director of the American
One of the featured veterans, Rafael Hirtz, was
the son of a wealthy businessman with contacts all over the world.
When Hirtz attended the Berlin Olympics in 1936 as a teenager,
he could sense the storm that was brewing in Europe. After the
United States entered World War II, he dropped out of college,
so eager to serve against Hitler that he took on the dangerous
job of spying for the newly formed Office of Strategic Services.
In 1942 a young Oregonian, Jeanne Holm, was determined
to serve in World War II. Holm was among the first women to enlist
in the military—the beginning of a life-altering experience
for her. Starting out as an Army truck driver, Holm soon became
an officer and a leader. At war’s end her patriotic impulse
developed into an Air Force career of more than 30 years. Holm
wrote three books on women in the military, stories in which
she played a major role thanks to her advocacy while on active
duty and during her retirement. General Holm serves on the Veterans
History Project Five Star Advisory Council.
Veterans from World War I, World War II, and the
Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars, and the civilians who
supported them, are coming forward to record their personal stories
and contribute personal documents for a growing archives at the
American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The goal
is to collect, preserve and share with future generations the
stories of all American war veterans.
Authorized by legislation passed in 2000, the project
is being carried out in the way that Congress envisioned: with
grandchildren interviewing grandparents, veterans interviewing
each other, and students conducting interviews as part of classroom
assignments. This program is the only nationwide oral history
and documentation effort that relies on volunteers rather than
professional oral historians to collect stories and artifacts.
AARP is the founding sponsor of the project, with more than 900
other organizations also participating.
The American Folklife Center at the Library of
Congress was created in 1976 to document, preserve and present
all aspects of traditional culture and life in America. With
more than 2 million items, it maintains the largest repository
of traditional cultural documentation in the United States.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization
dedicated to making life better for older Americans.
Those who are interested in becoming involved in
the Veterans History Project are encouraged to e-mail the office
at [email protected] to request
a project information kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans
History Project Web site at http://www.loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888)
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