July 30, 2015 Library of Congress Veterans History Project Launches Major Campaign To Recognize D.C.-Area Veterans

Press Contact: Gayle Osterberg (202)707-0020
Public Contact: Veterans History Project (202)707-4916

In recognition of the 70th anniversary of VJ-Day, the Library of Congress, through its Veterans History Project (VHP), is launching a major campaign to preserve the stories of World War II veterans residing in and around the nation’s capital.

VHP is offering Washington-area volunteers a unique opportunity to interview their close veteran relatives or friends at the Library for inclusion in the project. The project will soon reach 100,000 individual collections of stories, photographs, diaries and letters of the men and women who served their country during wartime.

VHP this year celebrates its 15th anniversary. The Washington-area campaign is made possible through the generosity of the Buffy and William Cafritz Family Foundation in honor of longtime Washington, D.C., resident and World War II veteran William Cafritz. It presents a special opportunity to ensure that more veterans in the national capital region are counted among the project’s first 100,000 participants.

The campaign kicks off Aug. 7 with the first of six special training sessions—all free and open to the public—where interviewers, ages 15 and older, can learn the how-tos of conducting oral history interviews for inclusion in this historic national collection. Each two-hour training session will be held in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., as follows:

    • Friday, Aug. 7, noon, Room 119
  • Friday, Aug. 7, 5:30 p.m., Room 119
  • Saturday, Aug. 8, 10:30 a.m., Room 119
  • Friday Sept. 25, noon, Whittall Pavilion
  • Friday, Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m., Whittall Pavilion
  • Saturday, Sept. 26, 10:30 a.m., Whittall Pavilion

The campaign continues with the unique opportunity for volunteers to bring World War II veterans to the Library and conduct interviews by appointment Aug. 10 through Sept. 2.

To schedule an interview, email [email protected] or call (202) 707-4916. The lives of veterans who have already passed can also be memorialized in the project through the donation of collections of 10 or more original letters, photographs and/or official military documents. Diaries and memoirs, 20 pages or longer, can also be donated. By appointment, Library of Congress leadership will receive these donations in person, or they can be dropped off weekdays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

A public-awareness campaign, "Do Your Part," will support these special sessions and educate the public about the project and the free online resources. Individuals can download a how-to field kit and conduct and submit interviews with veterans at any time.

William N. Cafritz was a successful real estate developer and investor in Washington, D.C. He served during World War II as a member of the 88th Infantry Division in Italy and was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in combat as his unit fought to take Monterumici.

Created by law and through unanimous support from the U.S. Congress in 2000, the Veterans History Project collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand remembrances of America’s war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Completely reliant on the voluntary participation of people around the country interviewing the veterans in their lives and communities, the project now holds more than 97,000 individual stories. Visit loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s first-established federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 160 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its website at loc.gov.

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PR 15-134
2015-07-30
ISSN 0731-3527