May 12, 2005
Veterans History Project Highlights More Stories on the Web
“VE-VJ” Goes Online; Symposium on End of War Scheduled for May 26
A new selection of 13 fully digitized collections of materials submitted by veterans and civilians is now available for the first time on the Library of Congress Web site at www.loc.gov/warstories.
This is the seventh set of individual stories—comprising interviews, letters, photographs and written memoirs—to be featured on the site, which is titled "Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project." Since the launch of this site on Memorial Day 2003, the Veterans History Project has been selecting stories to illuminate certain themes and making them available online. Past themes have included D-Day, prisoners of war, life-altering moments and military medicine. The latest addition of stories focuses on "VE" and "VJ" (Victory over Europe and Victory over Japan), highlighting personal accounts from veterans recalling the hours after the announcement of the end of World War II.
The Veterans History Project site now has 1,321 stories online, many of which include audio interviews, photographs, diaries, letters and other materials, consisting of more than 60,000 online items. These materials are part of the continuing effort by the Library to make its collections accessible online.
"As the nation honors the sacrifices of all veterans and commemorates the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Veterans History Project Web site provides an interactive site where students, historians and others can listen to oral histories from veterans and read firsthand accounts of war," said Diane Kresh, director of the Veterans History Project.
This special online presentation marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. One of the featured veterans, Charles Remsburg, recalls in his 259-page memoir titled "Old in Youth—Letters Home from a Young Infantryman During World War II," his seven months of service in the infantry and as a public relations officer while stationed in Europe. Remsburg was relieved to see the end of fighting, especially after he had lost so many friends, one of them in the war’s last hours. His postwar travels around Europe opened his eyes to the devastating consequences of full-scale war. Almost 40 years later, he was able to recall his experiences with the help of scores of letters he had written home.
In the summer of 1945, what most Americans on duty in the Pacific dreaded was the planned invasion of Japan. The atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed all that. Raymond Brittain witnessed both ends of America’s involvement in the war. His ship was on Battleship Row during the attack on Pearl Harbor, and he was in Japan immediately after the surrender to witness the havoc that U.S. bombers had caused there. His story is online.
On May 26, the Veterans History Project and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will host a half-day symposium titled "War’s End: Eyewitness to History," from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Benjamin Ferencz, an Army officer who served as prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, will deliver the keynote address. The program is free and open to the public. Reservations may be made by phone by calling (202) 707-6179. http://www.loc.gov
Veterans from World War I through the current conflict, and the civilians who supported them, are coming forward to record their personal stories and contribute personal documents for a growing archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The goal is to collect, preserve and share with future generations the stories of all American war veterans. To date, more than 33,000 individuals have submitted stories to the collection.
Those interested in becoming involved in the Veterans History Project are encouraged to send e-mail to [email protected] to request a project kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.
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