VETERANS HISTORY PROJECT
Bob Babcock recalls how Americans Remembered became engaged in the Veterans History Project:
Listening to stories of WWII and other veterans was something I have enjoyed since I was a youngster. When I began attending veterans’ reunions, I would listen for hours to stories about our WWII veterans’ exploits in Europe. Each year, more of them died and took their stories with them.
When I became president of the National 4th Infantry Division Association in 1998, one of my key objectives was to create a book to preserve the stories of our veterans. In 2001, War Stories – Utah Beach to Pleiku was published. Over 450 stories of WWII, Cold War, and Vietnam vets are included in that book. Many of the vets are now gone, but their stories live on.
When I heard about the Veterans History Project, I was committed to become a part of that great effort, doing video interviews of America’s veterans.
Since our beginning in 2002, Americans Remembered has preserved over 1,200 stories of American veterans from WWII, Vietnam, Cold War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Again, many of those veterans are now gone, but their stories now live on the Veterans History Project web page for today’s and future generations of people to learn from.
One of the early interviews I did, and my first of a woman veteran, was in late 2002 when I interviewed Helen Denton. Helen was the WWII WAC (Women’s Army Corp) secretary who typed the D-Day orders for General Eisenhower and his staff. Later, in 2012, I went a step further and wrote the book to preserve Helen’s story in written form.
Click below to listen to the first 16 minutes of Helen’s hour-long interview – and in our books section, you can download her book to read electronically, or order it in paperback format.
AMERICANS REMEMBERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH VHP
The United States Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000. The authorizing legislation (Public Law 106-380) received unanimous support and was signed into law by President Clinton on October 27, 2000.
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center, a part of the Library of Congress, collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
Since becoming a founding official partner of the Veterans History Project, Americans Remembered has sent over a thousand interviews to become part of the Library of Congress’ online collection. Following are some of the interviews contributed by Americans Remembered. Of special note is Gary Swanson who has blitzed the Kansas City area since 2003 and collected more interviews of WWII vets than any other individual.