The Library of Congress has organized “ The Veterans History Project” in order to gather and preserve the valuable stories of our nation’s veterans and they need the public’s help.
“The Veterans History Project” relies on volunteers to make this possible.
Local VFW member Jim Rippy said, “All World War II veterans are now in their 80s, and over 1,200 times a day in America “Taps” is played in their honor.”
The numbers fluctuate, but records indicate up to 2,000 WWII veterans pass away each day and their stories are lost.
Volunteers can collect these stories using audio and/or video means. The stories can be put on a disk and preserved forever for families, communities and the country. These recordings, data and collections of war materials are made available to family members, scholars, students and generations as a permanent record that will be forever stored in the Library of Congress.
The Ray County Library has quite a collection of video-taped interviews with local veterans, made by local veterans. Rippy encourages veterans in this community to tell their stories and to help others to do so.
“As VFW members, we know the veterans in our community better than anyone,” said Rippy. “All you need is a camera, a tripod and a desire to see that these heroes have a chance to tell their stories,”
But, of course veterans are not the only ones that can or should become involved in this endeavor. Anyone with an interest in history can participate.
The Library of Congress has made this project as simple as possible. Go to www.loc.gov/vets, and print the field kit which includes interview questions and memoir guidelines. All of the tools and tips needed to conduct the best possible interview is there.
There is no deadline for participating in this project, other than the age and health of our veterans. While the emphasis is on the WWII veterans, all veterans’ stories are important and need to be recorded.
“As I have found, the recorded interviews are the life story of these veterans, from where they were born to the date of the interview. It’s a cherished keepsake for family members and useful to the local library and VFW for public viewing,” said Rippy. “There is still time before we say ‘good-bye.’”