Veterans Affairs lawmakers challenge Congress to help collect veteran history

Abbie Bennett
October 01, 2019 - 1:54 pm
Women's Army Corps new officers

(Photo courtesy of National Archives)

Veterans Affairs leaders in Congress want help from their fellow lawmakers in collecting veterans' stories from across the country.

House Veterans Affairs Chairman Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., and ranking member Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., issued a "challenge" Tuesday to their fellow Congress members to participate in the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project ahead of Veterans Day on Nov. 11. 

Roe and Takano are asking members of Congress to submit at least one veteran's story to the HVAC to increase the Veterans History Project records "and ensure these stories are heard."

"We can think of no better way to honor the men and women who fought for our freedoms in the weeks leading up to Veterans Day than by ensuring that their unique stories of service are forever memorialized,” Takano and Roe said in a joint statement. “Through the Veterans History Project, these stories can be preserved for future generations of Americans to learn from and be inspired by. That’s why we are teaming up to help build VHP's story bank by encouraging all of our colleagues to engage with the veterans in their own backyards and submit at least one of their stories to the project prior to Veterans Day."

Congress established the project in 2000 to provide veterans a platform to share and preserve their personal stories from their service. The project is managed by the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center and is open to all veterans who have served in the U.S. military in any way from World War I  until now who are no longer serving and who were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. 

"The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress is an important repository of the powerful stories of American veterans,” said Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress. “These oral histories, unpublished memoirs, original photographs and other first-hand personal narratives preserve for future generations the realities of war these veterans faced. We are incredibly proud to continue building this collection and welcome contributions from every state and congressional district."

"The Veterans History Project could not do what we do without the efforts of brilliant volunteers and willing veterans from all across the country who serve again to share these treasured stories with us,” said Karen Lloyd, director of the Veterans History Project. “Their stories are our stories – the stories of our nation told by those who were witness to historic events; whether in the foxhole, cockpit, ship deck, mess hall or at a desk. Thank you for supporting our mission of collecting, preserving, and making accessible these enlightening narratives so that researchers, students, documentarians, and most importantly – future generations will come to know them."

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Reach Abbie Bennett: or @AbbieRBennett.