October 1, 2007 Veterans History Project Web Site Enhances Experience of "The War"

Press Contact: Jeffrey Lofton (202) 707-6432; Jessica Maccaro (202) 707-9822
Public Contact: Veterans History Project (202) 707-4916

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project, a program of the American Folklife Center, has produced a companion Web site for the PBS series “The War,” by Ken Burns.

The Web site, www.loc.gov/vets/stories/thewar/, guides viewers through each episode of the documentary, detailing historic events through the individual perspective of hundreds of veterans who experienced World War II and contributed their recollections to the Veterans History Project archives within the American Folklife Center. Visitors can select stories according to theme, follow the film episodes or browse the entire Veterans History Project database. The site showcases interviews, photographs, memoirs, diaries and letters dating from Pearl Harbor to V-E and V-J Day—all culled from the more than 50,000 stories in its collections.

“This is material you won’t see in “The War,” says Bob Patrick, director of the Veterans History Project. “But it will greatly enrich viewers’ experience of the film. Our companion Web site adds hundreds of voices and perspectives to those documented in ‘The War.’ What was it like to land at Salerno? How did it feel walking out of a relocation camp on V-J Day? How do those present at Okinawa recount the experience today? Collectively, these stories paint the big picture.”

The site is part of an agreement and massive national effort between the Library of Congress, PBS and Ken Burns to capture the hundreds of thousands of stories of men and women who experienced war first-hand. While the film series “The War” provides an intimate view of a few individuals, the Veterans History Project serves as the repository for the tens of thousands of oral histories that together document the full scope of America’s wartime experience. Together, PBS, Burns and the Veterans History Project hope to inspire millions throughout the country to contribute their stories to VHP.

“You don’t have to be a professional interviewer to do an interview for the Veterans History Project,” says Ken Burns. “With merely some time to listen, a good microphone and a cassette recorder, you can make a veteran part of [recorded] history."

Those interested in supporting the initiative can learn how to interview a veteran or contribute their own story by visiting www.loc.gov/vets/. Individuals may also request a Veterans History Project Field Kit via e-mail at vohp@loc.gov, or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.


PR 07-198
ISSN 0731-3527