November 7, 2014 World War I Remembered: 100 Years Later

Press Contact: Megan Harris (202) 707-8205; Monica Mohindra (202) 707-1071
Public Contact: Veterans History Project (202) 707-4916

Fear of chemical weapons, the devastation wrought by new military technology and the cultural consequences of a volunteer army: themes seemingly ripped from today’s headlines leap from the words and images of World War I veterans brought richly to life in the latest installment of the Veterans History Project’s “Experiencing War” web series.

These stories of servicemen and women from a conflict begun 100 years ago, also known as The Great War, foreshadow a modern struggle and offer an opportunity this Veterans Day to observe the human experience of war. This installment of “Experiencing War” can be viewed at www.loc.gov/vets/.

Drawing from more than 350 collections and heavy on original primary sources such as letters, diaries and journals, military papers, and photographs, the presentation focuses on veterans who served as soldiers, sailors, ambulance drivers and nurses, both at home and abroad. It reveals expected perspectives of challenges but also illuminates little-known, tender and even humorous accounts such as those of Lucius Nash, a sailor who served aboard a mine-layer stationed in the North Sea; Army Nurse Nettie Trax, whose letters home describe her dedication to the American doughboys she treats, referring to them as “my boys”; and Earle C. Smith, a gas officer known as an “official nose.”

The online presentation is filled with images including maps, postcards and propaganda posters. Army veteran John McGill’s collection shares more than 200 photographs that depict the ravages of war on the French landscape – collapsed churches, massive shell craters and trenches carved into the earth.

As a group, these first-person narratives illustrate both the unique and the universal aspects of World War I, the “war to end all wars” that gave rise to Armistice Day, now commemorated as Veterans Day.

Created by law and through unanimous support from the United States Congress in 2000, the Veterans History Project (VHP) collects, preserves and makes accessible the first-hand remembrances of America’s war veterans from WWI through the current conflicts, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Reliant on the voluntary participation of people around the country interviewing the veterans in their lives and communities, VHP now holds nearly 95,000 individual stories. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to advance the knowledge and creativity of the American people through its collections, programs and services. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.

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PR 14-196
2014-11-07
ISSN 0731-3527