In 2000, Congress created the Veteran’s History Project of the American Folklife Center. The project collects and preserves personal accounts of U.S. wartime veterans. The project’s goal is to allow future generations to hear directly from those who served in the military during wartime so that they are educated about the realities of war. The entire collection is available online as a resource for historians. Presently, it is considered the largest oral history program in the nation and it holds over 65,000 documents.

What Wars Does the Project Collect Information On?

  • World War I;
  • World War II;
  • Korean War;
  • Vietnam War;
  • Persian Gulf War;
  • Afghanistan and Iraqi conflicts.

Who Can Interview a Veteran?

The program primarily relies on veteran organizations, universities, high schools, the general public, and community groups to interview veterans, and submit the interviews to the Library of Congress. However, you do not need to be affiliated with any particular group to conduct an interview.

What Should Be Submitted As Part of a Veteran Interview?

The interview should be recorded in an audio or video format. Additionally, diaries, photos, memoirs, and other original content can be submitted as part of an interview, or as a separate item. You should be aware that the project only accepts original documents. Anything you submit to the VHP will become property of the Library of Congress, and it cannot be returned to you; you should make copies of any documents that you or the veteran desires to keep.

What Does the VHP Not Collect?

  • three-dimensional artifacts including medals, canteens, dog tags, helmets, uniforms, etc.;
  • published materials, such as books or magazine articles;
  • photocopies, scanned documents, and scanned photographs.

Interview tips

If you are interested in contributing an article to the Veteran’s History project then you should print out the VHP Field Kit. The kit contains several tips on how to conduct the interview, release forms that the veteran is required to sign, and a log of what the interview includes. Asking the veteran to bring old photos, letters, and diaries can encourage the veteran to recall interesting stories. Please ensure that you have the proper equipment to make an audio or video recording of the interview. Many smart phones have audio and video recording capabilities.

Can I Submit the Story of a Deceased Veteran?

The project only collects firsthand accounts from veterans. No secondhand or proxy accounts of their experience will be accepted. However, the VHP will accept original photographs, letters, memoirs, and diaries that are submitted by the veteran’s power of attorney, estate executor, or legal heir.

Have Additional Questions Or Concerns?

Carolina Family Estate Planning provides full-service estate plans to those in and around central North Carolina, including a little-known long-term care benefit for veterans who have served during wartime. If you have any additional questions about estate planning services for yourself or the veteran in your life, please call our Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits Attorneys in Cary at (919) 443-3035 for a free assessment by phone or contact us online.

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