During the next few weeks, the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in tandem with the National Endowment for the Arts’ Operation Homecoming, is conducting writing workshops for military veterans to help them tell their stories about life in the military. What a great way to kickoff November as National Lifewriting Month, with Veterans Day on the 11th! Veteran memories are being collected around the country as we realize the wealth of historical treasure hidden inside everyday members of our own communities… history that will be lost if we let our veterans pass away without passing on their experiences. Following are a few programs looking for veterans:
The Veterans History Project, through the Library of Congress, archives personal narratives in any form as well as photos and letters of war veterans and is also interested in stories of citizens actively supporting the war effort through factory work, USO, medical services, etc. Visitors to the website can see or read about some of the veterans’ stories. Anthony Adams of the U.S. Army Air Force has quite an interesting transcript if you’d like to know how a cow got into the bomber bay of his plane or about the firebombing of Tokyo. He verifies my mother’s thought that Mt. Fuji was used as a landmark during the bombing runs.
The Public Library of Cincinnati is assisting the Veterans History Project.
Missouri Veteran Stories Project produces 5-7minute videos of first-hand accounts of the military life of any war vet residing in Missouri, available online and at touch-consoles in the State Capital building.
New York State has a veteran oral history program.
If you know a war veteran, let them know about one of these sites. Let them know that their stories are valuable pieces of history worth saving. Each of our war veterans is an essay in our big book of American military history.