Never heard before stories: Veterans shed light on their military past

Veterans Voices

CLEVELAND (WJW) Mom, did you really carry a rifle in the Army? Grandpa, did you serve in World War II? There are no bad questions just ones that you didn’t have the courage to ask.

“People don’t realize that the people that are around them are veterans because veterans tend not to brag about their service and they don’t talk about it unless they really think you want to listen and then it’s amazing what they say and how they say it and the things that really resonated with them.”

Karen Lloyd is a retired Army Colonel and is the Director of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.

The library has been preserving stories of service and sacrifice by compiling citizens gathered firsthand accounts from veterans about their time in the military.

It doesn’t matter where they served, when they served, or whether it was in war or peace. Having a catalog to show the experiences of veterans Llyod says preserves a history that is unique.

“If you think about it movies and books and documentaries that you see it’s not generally the war it’s about what happened it’s those individual stories of those veterans what they saw what they thought what they heard what it was like,” Lloyd said

The project is done by volunteers and anyone can be a volunteer.

All they have to do is sit down and have a conversation with a veteran and record 30 minutes or more of video recounting the veteran’s memories and experiences.

Currently, the collection has more than 110 thousand veterans stories online including photographs, video, and audio recordings.

“We’re talking about the same folks who take care of the draft copy of the declaration of independence and all those amazing documents take care of the veteran’s history project items and there is a world-class conservation lab that’s backing up our collections and they’ll be available for now and future generations,” Lloyd says.

For more information about the Veterans History Project, visit the Library of Congress’ website.

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