A Call to Arms

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has issued a call to action to all Americans. During the Veterans History Project’s 10th Anniversary Commemoration Sept. 29, he launched a new campaign asking America to "collect and preserve the story of at least one veteran" and to "pledge to preserve this important part of American history."

Maj. Sam Gibbons (Ret.), a member of the VHP’s Five Star Council of advisors, describes his D-Day landing behind enemy lines. Veterans History Project. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available. The veteran's farewell. Enlist now! / Frank Dadd. 1914. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZC4-10925 (color film copy transparency); Call No.: POS - WWI - Gt Brit, no. 49 (C size) [P&P]

Time is of the essence, he added: "Help us gather in the accounts of 10,000 veterans by Veterans Day."

The Librarian’s public service announcement can be found in this webcast, filmed during the Veterans History Project's 10th Anniversary Commemoration.

The Veterans History Project has a handy pledge form for those interested. Once you fill it out and submit, you’ll receive an official Veterans History Project Field Kit with detailed instructions.

For a decade, the Veterans History Project has encouraged war veterans, their families, veterans groups, communities and students to record and donate veterans’ interviews along with any original photographs, diaries, letters, maps and other wartime documents to the Library of Congress, where they are housed in the American Folklife Center in perpetuity.

To date, contributors have recorded and submitted more than 68,000 personal recollections to VHP, making it the largest oral-history collection in the United States. These include the remembrances of male and female veterans from all 50 states and the U.S. territories who served during World War I through today’s conflicts, in all branches of the U.S. military. Approximately 7,500 stories have been digitized and are accessible on the project’s website.

The Library’s January/February 2010 issue of the Library of Congress Information Bulletin features a cover story on the 10-year anniversary and VHP’s various achievements.