Do you know a veteran?by Charity Tahmaseb
A lot will be said today about taking a moment from the barbeque to pause and think of the men and women who have served (and who are currently serving) in the Armed Forces. Some of those messages will be wrapped up in politics from both ends of the spectrum. And sometime today, the President will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
I’m going to suggest something different. Take a moment today to click through to the Veterans History Project and get to know a veteran.
Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Veterans History Project was created in 2000. Its purpose is to collect oral histories and memoirs (and supporting documentation such as letters, photos, etc.) from veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf Wars, and the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. They are also collecting stories from civilians who were actively involved in the war efforts.
The Armed Forces are made of up individuals. So I’m stating the obvious. Sort of. I’m surprised by others’ surprise when they comment on my military writing: I never knew . . .
Veterans come from all walks of life, from backgrounds as diverse as those you might find in any industry. Maybe it’s the rigors of basic training, where they tear you down only to build you back up again, the sameness of the uniforms. Maybe it’s the panoramic views of Arlington Cemetery, of flags flying, of a twenty-one gun salute.
Take a moment today for a close up look. Each veteran views their experience through a unique lens. If you know a veteran, encourage him or her to contribute to the Veterans History Project. If you’re a writer, maybe you can help record someone’s story.
And if you don’t know a veteran, I encourage you to click through, pick one soldier’s story, and get to know him or her.
The Veterans History Project