The Library of Congress' program to preserve veterans' wartime memories has archived its 100,000 collection.
The Veterans History Project collects veterans’ first-person narratives from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Officials are highlighting the 100,000 milestone while renewing the call for volunteers to help veterans tell their personal stories, so that future generations can better understand troops’ experiences in war. The congressionally mandated project is in its 16th year.
About 20,000 of the collections are available online at the Veterans History Project.
A simple search of the website shows that more than half of the veterans’ collections — nearly 58,000 — come from those who served in World War II. The next highest — 18,432 — come from the Vietnam War. There are 2,252 collections from Iraq veterans and 1,029 from Afghanistan veterans.
“There are more than 22 million veterans still living in the United States, and it is our hope that even more volunteers will come forward to interview the veterans in their lives and communities and also submit original photographs, letters and other correspondence to be preserved for researchers now and to inspire future generations,” said Veterans History Project director Robert Patrick in a statement.
Project officials point to the online VHP field kit, which provides instructions, a list of interview questions and required forms. They encourage individuals, businesses, high schools, colleges and universities, congressional offices, houses of worship and other organizations to participate.
The website also offers a how-to video.
Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.