By: Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service
CONCORD, N.H. — As veterans are celebrated today across New Hampshire and the nation, the director of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project is encouraging people to collect the first-person narratives of the military veterans in their families and neighborhoods.
Project Director Karen Lloyd, herself a retired U.S. Army colonel, said the oral history collection preserves recorded interviews of veterans who served in World War I and onward.
“We collect not just oral histories, we also collect photographs and letters, and memoirs and diaries, and two-degree artwork, because all of those are reflections of a veteran’s service. And everyone chooses to reflect different ways,” Lloyd said.
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. Listeners can visit LoC.gov/vets to access the searchable database, as well as download a how-to field kit to submit the veteran’s story.
Lloyd said you don’t have to be an expert to listen to a veteran and record their life story.
“Anybody can do this. You just have to be interested and listen – really listen – to the veterans in your life, in your community,” she said.
She added it’s important to make veterans’ firsthand accounts accessible for future generations.
“And we would ask that volunteers reach out to those local veterans and consider donating those stories, and those photographs and those letters, here to the Library of Congress,” she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 100,000 veterans live in New Hampshire. More than 30% of those veterans served in Vietnam.