The recent announcement that America’s last surviving veteran of World War I, retired Army Corporal Frank Buckles, brought back memories of my childhood. I remembered hearing the wartime marching songs that my grandfather, a World War I veteran, taught his daughters to sing. My mom sang these colorful songs as we worked together in the garden or around the house on our Texas Panhandle farm.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized most young women did not have a repertoire of WWI marching ditties to fit most any occasion!
In addition to my grandfather’s service, I was surrounded by uncles and extended family members who served proudly and bravely in World War II, as well as the Korean War, Vietnam, and today’s conflicts. Their stories were colorful, patriotic, and thought provoking. And, most importantly, their stories forever linked me to a proud family history — a history that I am honored to share with my children.
Participating in the Veterans History Project is a wonderful way to honor your senior parent or other loved one. Stories can be told through personal narratives of a veteran, a veteran’s correspondence during their service, as well as visual materials of the era such as photographs, drawings, or scrapbooks.
The project collects first-hand accounts of U.S. veterans from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, as well as the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Additionally, U.S. citizen civilians actively involved in supporting war efforts through positions such as war industry workers, USO workers, flight instructors, medical volunteers and others are invited to share their stories. Historical accounts from military service during peacetime are being gathered, as well.
I encourage you to make this a family project and involve as many generations as possible. What a dedication to honor your loved ones and make this Memorial Day even more special by creating a lasting legacy. Please visit www.loc.gov/vets for registration information and interview guidelines.
Go ahead! Share your story about your military experience here, too. We want to read your story in the comment section below!