from the Reunion," draws from the nearly 3,000 stories collected
The story of Andrew Melendrez tells of his experience in Normandy. He
"We started in Normandy. We were surrounded by the Germans because
they were trying to push us back to England. We were surrounded for seven
days without food or water. They started dropping ammunition and food,
but it kept dropping too far away into German territory. The glass bottles
of medication would break when they dropped them from the air. Finally,
the 32nd Division broke through and got us out. I wanted to get home for
Christmas 1944, but we had to go down to the Bulge to help out. We didn't
have any winter clothing, but we made do. A lot of the unit got frostbite,
but luckily enough I didn't. In February of 1945 I was wounded and they
sent me back to the hospital for three months. And then after I got out
I was going back to Germany, but the war ended so I had to go back to
my outfit. They pulled us out and brought us back to the States for 30
days, after which I was supposed to report to Jackson, South Carolina,
(where my division is from) to go over to Japan. But they dropped the
atom bomb so I was discharged."
Veterans from World War I through the current conflict, and the civilians
who supported them, are coming forward to record their personal stories
and contribute personal documents for a growing archives at the American
Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The goal is to collect, preserve
and share with future generations the stories of all American war veterans.
To date, more than 25,000 individuals have submitted stories to the collection.