Friday, November 15, 2013

Preserving Our Veteran's Stories

This Veterans Day, I wrote a blog post about my father and his military service. Since I am the family historian, along with that service comes many stories and photos. As usual I'm always trying to figure out how to tell those stories and what to do with all this family history.

I was going through the Yahoo news page on Veterans day and came across an article about Jane Bartow.  World War II Letters reveal parents untold love story. Jane found her parents letters from World War II and published them in a book.

But she also began a website called, World War II Daughters. On this site is space to tell these stories of our fathers and their experiences in World War II.  I was inspired. I contacted Jane and I've decided that several stories about my dad and his service are a better fit on her site, than here on Appalachian Heart Wood. I will be contributing a few of Dad's World War II stories to that website. I'll be posting on this blog when they are up with a link.  I encourage daughter's of World War II veterans with stories to contact Jane and consider telling their father's tales there.

Jane also told me about the Veteran's History Project through the Library of Congress. I worked as an assistant archivist and archivist beginning with the Holston Conference Archives during and after college and so all these letters, photos, etc. I have of family, I am always thinking about their preservation for the future. None of this hoarding of family mementos means a thing if they don't survive and the stories are handed down with them. Just one look on eBay will show you how some family members kept items for so long only to have another family member care nothing about them and discard them or get rid of them. Many times these items carry our history, not only of ourselves but of our nation.

So I have been in contact with the Library of Congress Veteran's History Project and this Thanksgiving I'm going to talk to my family of finding dad's mementos a permanent home where they can be shared, accessed by anyone and preserved. Better than a box in the closet.  I will scan all the copies digitally and share with the family. That way they can make copies of whatever they want. But to me this is a way that Dad's life will be honored and what he kept and did in World War II, Korea and Vietnam will be preserved.

If you have stories to share and mementos to preserve I encourage you to check out Jane's website and the Veteran's History Project at the Library of Congress. The project is collecting stories from Veterans of all wars including the most recent. Our Veterans and their stories deserve to be remembered.

World War II Daughters Stories

Veteran's History Project

In Honor of Veterans Day 2013