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A Decade of Valor

The Veterans History Project (VHP) celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2010. To date, contributors have recorded and submitted more than 68,000 personal recollections to the Library, making it the largest oral-history collection in the United States. Included are interviews with veterans from every congressional district. Approximately 7,500 stories have been digitized and are accessible on the project’s website.

Joseph Doria walks along the National Mall thanking every veteran he encounters for making “this great country” safe for his family, whom he brought from the Philippines for a “better life” in the United States. Here he expresses his gratitude to Air Force veteran James Dobson, who survived as a prisoner of war. Michaela McNichol. Veterans History Project. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available. Singing a song at a “victory party” after the war was over. 1953. Edward L. Pierce Collection. Veterans History Project. Reproduction Information: Reproduction information not available.

The Veterans History Project has many accomplishments to mark its first decade. In October 2009, a national teach-in on veterans’ history 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. In addition, VHP has more than 28 web presentations highlighting the stories of the diversity of the veterans who served the nation as part of its “Experiencing War” series.

Two books have been 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," both of which feature stories from the VHP collection.

The Veterans History Project also has been active in organizing 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; and libraries.

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. The authorizing legislation (Public Law 106-380), sponsored by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Amo Houghton (R-N.Y.) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Sens. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), received unanimous support and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on Oct. 27, 2000. Its congressional mandate is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.

More milestones are marked in an article in the January/February issue of the Library of Congress Information Bulletin.