The Veterans History Project: Tell Us Your Story!
In 2000, the United States Congress created the Veterans History Project (VHP) as a part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress – the world’s most respected research and cultural institution. The purpose of the Veterans History Project is to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal accounts of America’s wartime veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand their selfless service. Since its inception, more than 25,000 stories have been submitted to the archive, and more are added every month.
BPL Joins the Veterans History Project!
Beginning in September, the Bienville Parish Library System is answering the call to help collect, preserve, and make accessible to the community the personal accounts of our wartime veterans for future generations. Branch manager, DeYvonne Jones can relate to this project, “My whole family was in service,” Jones says, “when dad was transferred to a base, we all packed up and went with him. It wasn’t easy, but when a parent is in military service, you’re part of the military too!” Jones’s father was a career Army officer serving during WWII, through into the Korean Conflict to finish his service stateside helping train new recruits on the latest heavy artillery. “This project is a great opportunity to share our piece of history and join the stories from hundreds perhaps thousands of service men and women who lived through a time most of us will only read about in books.”
Personal Narratives and Experiences
The Bienville Parish Library staff will be helping local veterans, and the families of veterans record and video interviews, collecting first-person narratives that will bring the most tumultuous times in our history up close and personal. With a 25 to 30-minute video interview recording, library staff will go through the interview questions to help draw out the veteran’s story. “The conversations and memories they are willing to share preserve important pieces of history,” Jones continues, “All these pieces fit together and add to the framework of the American story.”
The Bienville Parish Library’s Role in the Veterans History Project
In addition to helping record and collect first-person narratives, the staff at the Bienville Parish Library will also carefully scan photos, documents, and relevant materials to become part of the Bienville Parish Library’s Genealogical collection. “We will scan letters, photos, and documents and return the originals to the veteran or family member,” Jones explains, “This will greatly expand our library archives and assist other heritage and family lineage experts with their research projects.”
Who can participate?
A veteran who served in the United States Military in any capacity, from WWI through to recent conflicts is eligible to participate, regardless of branch or rank. These interviews will go on to the Veterans History Project/Library of Congress with a copy remaining on the Bienville Parish Library’s server and made available to patrons coming in to do genealogical research. “This will be an ongoing project,” says Jones, “As the word gets out to veterans and their families, we hope they will call and schedule an interview session at any of the five libraries in Bienville Parish. We are looking forward to collecting this important historical information.”
Not Quite Ready?
If a veteran or family member of a veteran is not quite ready to schedule the interview, there is a brochure and a field kit that will be available to take home and read through. “We’ll be here when you’re ready to tell your story,” Jones says. “Feel free to review the information in the brochure and call us with questions.”
For more information, or ask questions about the Veterans History Project and find out more about the Bienville Parish Library’s role in the Veterans History Project, call 318-263-7410. See You at the Library!
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