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July 1, 2005

Library of Congress contacts: Anneliesa Clump Behrend [email protected]


“Man on the Mall” Interviews Go Online July 1

A new selection of 28 fully digitized collections of materials submitted by World War II veterans and civilian war workers will be available for the first time on the Library of Congress Web site on July 1 at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.

During the National World War II Reunion held over Memorial Day weekend in 2004, the Veterans History Project collected nearly 3,000 veterans' stories of wartime service. To celebrate that historic reunion, selected stories are being presented in their entirety online. These stories capture memories of battle, heroic moments, stark realizations about the realities of war and much-needed comic relief as told by the men and women who were there.

This is the seventh 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.” Since the launch of this presentation site on Memorial Day 2003, the Veterans History Project has regularly made available new stories to illuminate certain themes. Past themes have included D-Day, prisoners of war and life-altering moments.

With this new set of fully digitized stories, the Veterans History Project site offers 1,583 digitized collections online. The digitized materials are part of the continuing effort by the Library to make its collections accessible online.

In World War II, Milton James Ten Have served in the Army’s “D” Company, 317th Infantry, 80th Division, in France. In his written narrative he remembers the days around Germany’s surrender. “Now [the Germans] didn't know when we had won! Stars & Stripes knew this, but German soldiers needed to know this. They were instructed to leave their weapons, and we gathered them on both sides of the roadway leading up to the Alps. They proceeded back to a place in the army rear. It took three days for them to come out. When we saw how many tanks they had up there, we were glad we didn't have to fight them.”

Doris Nelson White served in the Army Field Hospitals during World War II. In her written narrative she recalls her role as a nurse. “It was a good time, because you felt like you were doing something to help the guys who were giving you their all … We had our field hospital down on the beach at Leyte, with this jungle right behind us. And this young black man came stumbling in holding his guts in. I don't know what his story was, but his abdomen was completely exploded and he was holding his intestines in. Our corpsmen got him into the operating room very quickly and the doctors saved him.” White stayed in nursing after the war and retired with a total of 47 years in nursing.

“The Veterans History Project was honored to be part of the National World War II Reunion and we are pleased to present some of the stories we collected over those four days,” said Diane Kresh, director of the Veterans History Project.

The Veterans History Project’s Web site continues to feature an interactive guide to “Voices of War,” the first book drawn from its collections, which was published in November 2004 by National Geographic Books. The companion Web site can be viewed at http://www.loc.gov/voicesofwar/.

Veterans from World War I through the current conflict, 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. To date, more than 35,000 individuals have submitted stories to the collection.

Authorized by legislation passed in 2000, the project is being carried out as Congress envisioned, with grandchildren interviewing grandparents, veterans interviewing each other, and students conducting interviews as part of classroom assignments.
Those interested in becoming involved in the Veterans History Project are encouraged to e-mail [email protected] to request a project 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) 371-5848.

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PR 05-109
ISSN 0731-3527

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