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Veterans History Project

Are you, or do you know, a veteran or civilian who contributed to the war effort and would be interested in sharing and immortalizing your wartime experience? If so, then you will be interested in the Veterans History Project here at the Westchester Library. The Veterans History Project is an initiative of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, which seeks to collect firsthand accounts of military service in World War II, the wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and the conflicts in Afghanistan and make these narratives accessible so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.

Members of Library staff will conduct interviews a minimum of 30-minutes in length with participants, which will then be audio-recorded and transcribed. While not required or necessary, collections of original photographs, letters, and other historical documents may also be accepted. The audio-recording of each interview, accompanying transcript, and digital copies of any supplemental materials will then be sent to the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center, where an archival record will be established in the veteran’s name. Authors, scholars, historians, and anyone else searching the Veterans History Project collections will then have access to these interviews to use as primary resources in their research.

Participating in the Veterans History Project is simple. Anyone interested can simply contact the Westchester Library to schedule an interview, and then come in at the prearranged time and day to share your experiences in a conversation with staff. Be sure to bring any photographs, etc., you wish to contribute, as well. As a courtesy to veteran and civilian participants, all interviewees will receive a copy of the interview and transcript for their personal files. The Library will also retain copies of the interviews and create its own archival records as part of a growing local history collection.

The Veterans History Project is an oral history program that honors American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them by preserving stories of their service to our country, and we encourage anyone eligible to take advantage of this unique opportunity. Find out more about the Veterans History Project at its official site: http://www.loc.gov/vets/vets-home.html. Please feel free to contact the Westchester Library at (708) 562-3573 or come in to schedule an interview or with any questions.

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