Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940; Anneliesa Clump (202) 707-9822

November 14, 2003

Veterans History Project Gathers Support From Department of Veterans Affairs, Women Legislators and Disabled American Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) are joining forces with the Library of Congress to increase national awareness of the Veterans History Project in the Librarys American Folklife Center.

Every veteran has his or her own war, said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, and each is custodian of a unique story and memories. The support of the Veterans History Project by the VA, the National Foundation for Women Legislators and the Disable American Veterans is most important because it will help reach out to veterans across the nation to ensure that this American story is told through thousands of different voices, thousands of different pictures and thousands of different memories.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi said: Future generations of Americans will benefit from this very important effort to preserve the oral histories of American wartime veterans. With more than 1,700 World War II veterans dying each day, it is imperative that we act quickly to preserve the stories and experiences of wartime veterans. There is much to learn from those who served.

Women from every state and territory in the nation will serve as team leaders in NFWLs Heart to Heart program to record interviews with veterans and civilian supporters for presentation to the Librarys Veterans History Project. The Department of Veterans Affairs will assist NFWL in locating veterans to be interviewed and will provide local public affairs support. DAV is encouraging its members to interview their fellow disabled veterans or to allow a volunteer to interview them.

Team leaders will initially focus on interviewing World War II veterans from Nov. 1 through Feb. 24, 2004. They will then follow up with interviews of veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars.

With so many World War II veterans dying each day, these elected women will focus on collecting histories from this greatest generation over the holiday season, said NFWL President and CEO Robin Read.

The DAV is proud to be an official partner in this important program. Our thanks go to the veterans who share their stories and the many volunteers across the country who record them to help preserve the legacy of Americas veterans and to ensure that their service and sacrifice will always be remembered, said DAV National Commander Alan W. Bowers.

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is collecting and preserving audio and video histories, along with documentary materials such as letters, diaries, maps, photographs and home movies. A selection will be available online for review by veterans, their families, researchers, historians and future generations of Americans.

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress was created in 1976 to document, preserve and present all aspects of traditional culture and life in America. With more than 2 million items, it maintains the largest repository of traditional cultural documentation in the United States. The National Veterans History Collection preserved at the American Folklife Center will richly complement the Library's existing holdings on this subject of enduring importance.

For more information about the Veterans History Project, visit the Web site at www.loc.gov/veterans.

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PR 03-198
11/14/03
ISSN 0731-3527

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