Most of us don’t ever get the whole story. We know the basic plotlines of the wars in America’s past and present, but we rarely hear the personal stories of the men and women on the front lines.
The Veterans History Project gives us the chance to hear those stories from the men and women who fought in wars, provided medical care to wounded soldiers and contributed to the war effort. This project allows us to document history through the accounts of the very people who helped make it.
The Veterans History Project was created by Congress in 2000 as a means of collecting the personal accounts of veterans and civilians who were a part of America’s wartime history. The accounts are predominantly oral histories, retold through audio and video interviews; however, correspondence and visual materials such as photographs are also accepted.
These personal accounts come from veterans who served in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Additionally, accounts from civilians involved in the war efforts are collected. All of these accounts are stored in The American Folk Life Center of the Library of Congress.
For more than 150 years, the American Red Cross has been a proud supporter of our nation’s military. Our Services to Armed Forces include supporting wounded soldiers, offering resiliency training, connecting military families to local resources and linking military families in times of emergency. In our ongoing efforts to offer a continuum of service to our armed forces, the Red Cross found it only natural to contribute to the Veteran’s History project.
The Red Cross recognizes the importance of allowing these personal stories to be told and preserved in order to help future generations understand the realities of war in our nation’s past. The project not only allows veterans to tell their stories in their own words, but it provides the American public with insight into the experiences of individuals who may not otherwise appear in the historical record.
To date, the American Red Cross has helped the Veteran’s History Project preserve more than 600 personal stories. Our dedication to America’s armed forces continues well beyond active duty, and the Veterans History Project is a fantastic opportunity for the Red Cross to support our servicemen and women in perpetuity.
If you would like to volunteer to conduct an interview with a veteran in Central Texas, or if you are a veteran with a story you would like to tell, contact us. Every story is important.
Sample DVD cover from Red Cross Veteran’s History Project entry: