Press contact: Jeffrey Lofton (202) 707-6432; Jessica Souva (202) 486-1840
Public contact: Veterans History Project (202) 707-4916

October 30, 2008

Library of Congress Oral History Project Challenges Americans To Interview Vets During National Veterans Awareness Week 2008

Ceremonies, Events Across the Nation Mark Veterans Day and National Veterans Awareness Week

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center issues a challenge for Americans to interview veterans from their families or communities during National Veterans Awareness Week, Nov. 9-15, and throughout the year. Interview guidelines are available online at www.loc.gov/vets.

"Approximately 17 million U.S. war veterans live in our nation today," said Veterans History Project Director Bob Patrick. "Honor veterans this Veterans Day by recording their stories to ensure their legacies are preserved in the Library of Congress’ permanent collection."

The nation now loses its wartime veterans, particularly those who served in World War II and the Korean War, at a rate of 1,700 per day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"National Veterans Awareness Week is a call to action for every American to interview a veteran and send the story to the Library of Congress, where it will educate and inspire students, visitors and historians for generations to come," added Patrick.

Veterans Day Observances Across the Nation

Veterans History Project volunteers mark Veterans Day and National Veterans Awareness Week 2008 with ceremonies, events and special programs across the country.

"Stories from the WWII 92nd Infantry Division" is a special VHP Web presentation that highlights a rich collection of first-person stories of the segregated 92nd Division, an African American infantry division that faced combat in Europe during WWII and was recently dramatized in the novel and film "Miracle at St. Anna."

VHP staff will honor America’s military and support the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs during the Veterans Day National Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, Nov. 11. A wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, followed by a ceremony in the Memorial Amphitheater, commences with a prelude concert by the U.S. Navy Band at 10:30 a.m.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington hosts a Library of Congress Veterans Reception on Wednesday, Nov. 12 to honor the veterans among the Library’s employees, members of Congress and congressional staff. Colleagues and family members of veterans are welcome. The reception takes place from 10 to 11 a.m. in the VHP Information Center (Room LM-109) in the James Madison Memorial Building at 101 Independence Ave, SE, Washington, D.C.

Two events herald the launch of a major, coordinated effort to collect the oral histories of wartime veterans throughout Florida.

VHP Director Bob Patrick will address 8,000 local residents at the Family Art Fest and Salute to the Troops in Jacksonville, Fla., at noon on Saturday, Nov. 8, to announce the kickoff of an ongoing program by the Community Hospice Veterans Partnership to collect the oral histories of wartime veterans in northern Florida. For more information, visit www.familyartfestsalutetothetroops.org.

Concurrently, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) promotes the Veterans History Project in South Florida on Monday, Nov. 10, beginning with a day of veteran interviews at Cypress Bay High School in Weston. South Florida veterans who wish to contribute their stories should contact Mike Liquerman at (954) 437-3936.

On Saturday, Nov. 8 at 10 a.m., Brig. Gen. Don Scott, member of the VHP Five Star Council and the American Folklife Center Board of Trustees and former deputy librarian of congress, will represent the Veterans History Project during the "Honoring Veterans: History and Memory" portion of the Veterans Day program sponsored by the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo.

VHP Director Patrick will also deliver the keynote address on Monday, Nov. 3, at 10 a.m., as the Central Connecticut State University Veterans History Project unveils its digital archive, which comprises more than 120 interviews of wartime veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Veterans will be honored during the ceremony.

To interview a veteran during National Veterans Awareness Week 2008 or learn more about the Veterans History Project, download a VHP Field Kit at www.loc.gov/vets, request a kit via email at vohp@loc.gov or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.

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PR 08-202
10/30/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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