January 29, 2010 Veterans History Project Marks Tenth Year with Events and Initiatives

Public Contact: Jeffrey Lofton, (202) 707-6432

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center has planned national and local events, activities and initiatives during 2010 to mark the 10th anniversary of its congressional mandate to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.

VHP contributors have recorded and submitted more 68,000 personal recollections to the Library to date, making it the largest oral-history collection in the United States. The project depends on a vast network of volunteers, both individuals and organizations, to record stories and submit original photographs, diaries, letters and other personal documents that tell the history of our nation during wartime from the perspective of the men and women who were there.

“The Veterans History Project captures and shares the human experience of military service that supplements textbook accounts of history. These veterans’ stories are often recorded by America’s youth, which facilitates interaction and appreciation among generations,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Recently, VHP honored its founding partners and the volunteers and organizations that recorded stories of veterans. The newly launched VHP Contributor Program replaces the Partner Program and is designed to recognize both individuals and organizations involved in recording veteran interviews, according to VHP’s online instructional materials.

  • Plans for 2010 include:
  • • Launch of a “toolkit” to help VHP contributors plan local events and develop community-engagement programs
  • • Initiatives to gather more stories of minority and women veterans
  • • Events to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War
  • • A host of online and in-person programs to mark cultural heritage months.
  • VHP accomplishments include:
  • • A National Teach-In on Veterans History that was webcast live to more than 2,000 schools, hosted by VHP and HISTORY™ as part of the Take a Veteran to School Day initiative (www.history.com/content/veterans/national-teach-in-on-veterans-history)
  • • More than 25 web presentations that highlight the stories of the diversity of the veterans who served our nation (www.loc.gov/vets/stories/themes.html)
  • • Hundreds of community engagement programs with the U.S. Congress; colleges, universities and schools; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; civic organizations; faith-based groups; veteran-service organizations; libraries; and other organizations that continue to contribute to VHP
  • • Opportunities for thousands of students to participate in intergenerational service learning programs
  • • Two books published in conjunction with National Geographic: “Voices of War: Stories of Service from the Home Front and the Front Lines” and “Forever a Soldier: Unforgettable Stories of Wartime Service,” which feature stories from the VHP collection,
  • • Interviews with veterans from every congressional district.

“VHP is not only a resource for researchers and the scholars who access these one-of-a-kind stories; it exists for everyone. I am most heartened when veterans and their families share how profoundly proud and honored they are to tell their stories,” said VHP Director Bob Patrick. “Most consider it an act of patriotism to submit their personal account to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.”

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov, and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at myLOC.gov.

The Veterans History Project was created in 2000 by Congress as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center (www.loc.gov/folklife/) to record, preserve, and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Volunteer interviewers may request information at vohp@loc.gov or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to VHP’s RSS on the VHP home page.


PR 10-025
ISSN 0731-3527