By Paige Nash
The Webster Parish Libraries is taking part in the Veterans History Project (VHP) of the Library of Congress. This project collects, preserves and transforms personal accounts of American war veterans into publicly accessible pieces of history.
Janetta Robinson, Webster Parish Libraries Technology Assistant and History Archivist said, “We want all veterans to have the opportunity to tell their personal stories. Don’t let yours or a loved one’s history be lost.”
The library will be gathering documents in the forms of audio and video, which can include personal narratives or videotaped interviews. Visual material is also welcome in the form of photographs, artwork, letters, postcards, diaries and drawings that are within the guidelines set by the Library of Congress.
This partnership is an effort to preserve this important collection of history for future generations to come. With first-hand accounts from veterans this will give a better understanding of the grim realities of war and conflict. The VHP is interested in hearing accounts of the following:
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1939-1945
Korean War, 1950-1953
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Grenada–History–American Invasion, 1983
Panama–History–American Invasion, 1989
Operation Restore Hope, 1992-1993
Persian Gulf War, 1991
United Nations Operation in Somalia
Haiti–History–American intervention, 1994-1995
Operation Allied Force, 1999
Peacekeeping forces–Bosnia and Hercegovina
Operation Joint Guardian, 1999-
War on Terrorism, 2001-2009
Afghan War, 2001-
Iraq War, 2003-2011
Next of kin of deceased veterans are encouraged to submit memoirs, biographical information, original photos, letters, and other forms of correspondence on behalf of their loved ones.
Immediate family members (parent, spouse, sibling or child) fall under the Gold Star Families Voices Act. A public law that allows these immediate family members of a veteran who died while serving in the armed forces to submit oral histories. Due to the graphic and sensitive nature of some of these accounts the VHP requires the person conducting the interview and the person being interviewed to be at least 18 years of age.
Oral histories can be recorded at both the Minden and Springhill Branches of the Webster Parish Libraries by appointment. These unedited accounts and documents will be sent to the Library of Congress to be added to their collections while a copy will remain in the archives of the Webster Parish Libraries. An additional copy will also be provided to each participating veteran or veteran family member.
The libraries began accepting submissions earlier this month, but there is no deadline. This is an ongoing project. If you are interested in making a submission you can contact the Minden Branch at (318) 371-3080 ext. 126 or the Springhill Branch at (318) 539- 4117. If you are interested in viewing the Veterans History Project at your local library, you will need to schedule an appointment with the research staff at least 10 business days in advance.
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