May 23, 2003 Library of Congress Launches Patriotic Web Site
Courage, Patriotism, Community Web Site Debuts May 23
Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
In honor of Memorial Day and in celebration of the American spirit, the Library of Congress is launching a new Web site highlighting its collections of veterans' stories, patriotic music and community life.
Courage, Patriotism, Community comprises three Web presentations: Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project; Patriotic Melodies: Selections from I Hear America Singing; and Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project.
Experiencing War (http://www.loc.gov/warstories) features selected stories from the Library's Veterans History Project in the American Folklife Center. Created by an act of Congress in 2000, the Veterans History Project provides veterans and the civilians who supported them the opportunity to record for posterity their wartime experiences. These poignant stories, which reflect the Web site's theme of "courage, patriotism and community," are told through video, audio and written personal accounts from 21 veterans and civilians. They include such stories as that of James Walsh, veteran of the Korean War, who describes the numbing cold and horrifying scenes he endured with the 25th Infantry. Also included are photographs, diaries and scrapbooks-all digitized and presented on the Web site. This initial release of personal narratives will be followed by many more from the 7,000 collections the Veterans History Project has received to date.
Patriotic Melodies (http://www.loc.gov/patrioticmusic) illustrates the close connection between patriotism, music, and the expression of the American spirit; it features some of the nation's most beloved patriotic tunes as well as the story behind the creation of each melody. The 26 initial selections include national songs like "The Star Spangled Banner," "America" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee"; military theme songs like "The Army Goes Rolling Along," "Anchors Aweigh" and "The Marines' Hymn"; and music like "Over There" and "Yankee Doodle Boy" drawn from musical theater. A trip to the Web site will allow visitors to turn the pages of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," listen to Kate Smith sing "God Bless America," and learn interesting facts-such as the title of George M. Cohan's renowned song, "You're a Grand Old Flag," which was originally titled "You're a Grand Old Rag."
Community Roots (http://www.loc.gov/folklife/roots) documents America's local festivals, community events and other grassroots activities. The events selected for this presentation come from the larger Local Legacies collection-a joint project of the Library of Congress and the U.S. Congress that was initiated during the Library's bicentennial celebration in 2000 to document the nation's multicultural traditions at the turn of the 20th century. For the purpose of the online presentation, one local tradition has been selected to represent each state, the District of Columbia, the territories and trusts. These include Buccaneer Days in Texas, which celebrates a time in history when pirate ships sailed the Gulf waters, and the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast-serving some 40,000-in Springfield, Mass. Viewed as a whole, Community Roots highlights the ways in which Americans celebrate their diverse cultural backgrounds.
The Library of Congress is the largest repository of human knowledge in the history of the world. During the last decade, the Library took advantage of the power of the Internet and the unparalleled resources of its collections and curators to become the leading provider of free noncommercial educational content on the World Wide Web. Its award-winning Web site is accessible at http://www.loc.gov. From baseball cards to presidential diaries, from Edison's first films to Mathew Brady's Civil War photographs, more than 8 million items are now available online showcasing the creativity and courage of the American people.