Today is Veterans Day. This is a day that should be important to every American. This day is also personally important for me because I have husband who is active duty (and who will be a veteran this time next year). I could easily climb on my soapbox and write at length about the issues veteran’s and active duty face (the high unemployment rate for veteran’s, the health issues so many of them face, and the high suicide rate for veteran’s and active duty) and the lack of support they often receive, but there are others who can handle that much more eloquently than I. Instead I want to focus on something good. So, in honor of today, I wanted to draw your attention to a very cool project through the Library of Congress.
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
Spend some time searching this database and you’ll discover some amazing stories and pictures. There are first hand accounts directly from the service members, current and past photos, news articles, videos, military papers, a treasure trove for any history lover.
I am a history nerd, but I’ll be the first to admit the way it’s so often presented – especially to students – can be so dry. When we focus on the bare facts and the dates we often lose the personality of history. We forget that history happened to actual people who were just like us. And we forget how very young some of these service members were when they went off to fight and, in some cases, give their lives. Archives like The Veterans History Project can remind us. This is why archiving is so important, because remembering is important. So, today, I encourage everyone to look through these stories and maybe find someone in your life who has their own.