Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Oral History Presentations Archive

Veterans Oral History NEH Grant

NEH GrantVeterans Oral History Program

I am pleased to announce that a coveted grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities was awarded to a Veterans oral history program that I will be working with. Specifically, the NEH grant for Dialogues on the Experience of War was awarded to Governors State University for a program titled “War, Trauma, and the Humanities”. Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Andrae Marak, and Rosemary Johnsen, will be the co-directors for the project.

Oral History Training and Presentation

My immediate role for this veterans oral history project will be to train students on how to conduct and interpret veteran oral history interviews as they relate to war, trauma, and memory. Additionally, I will be called upon to present World War II veteran oral history interviews that address combat-related trauma.

Combat Trauma and Memory

The project will focus on the ways in which members of the military experience trauma–lived and remembered, on and off the field of battle. To that end, the project will include an intensive eight-week college course covering the experiences of veterans and trauma across the conflicts of World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Iraq/Afghanistan. The course work will focus on primary sources, historical novels, poetry, and feature films. Five students who are military veterans will be selected to assist with the college course. The veteran students will share their experience while also helping to present materials and moderate discussions.

Town Hall for Understanding and Healing

The end of the project will feature a video and audio taped town hall meeting in which the five veteran students, class members, professors, local veterans, and interested members of the public will interact and engage in a lively discussion concerning the topics covered in the class. The town hall meeting will be aired on the public television station run by Governors State University, which has an audience of approximately one million viewers.

If you would like more information concerning this unique and important work, feel free to contact me.

Day Three: 508 PIR Association Reunion

508PIR Banquet

Rock Merritt and Ernie Lawson

Oral History Presentation

Veterans Day is the perfect day to share an update for last Saturday’s events at the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment Association Reunion.  On that day, I conducted an audio and video presentation to the membership.  My presentation focused on the progress of my oral history interviews and why preserving the legacy of all Veterans is important.  After my presentation, I filmed a panel discussion of 508 PIR Veterans and current service members.  The panel discussion focused on comparing and contrasting experiences and military service across the different eras.

508 PIR Oral History Interviews

Continuing that busy day, I later had the privilege to complete two oral history interviews.  The first interview was with Brodie Hand, a World War II Veteran who served in 508 Company C, 82nd Airborne Division.  Corporal Hand participated in the Normandy campaign as a paratrooper and subsequently was captured and became a POW for the rest of the war.  The second interview was with Justin Graham, an active duty service member with the 508 PIR, 82nd Airborne.  SSG Graham has been deployed three times to Afghanistan, in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  It was fantastic that these two heroes took the time to speak with me.  I was equally delighted to be able to compare and contrast a World War II Veteran with a current soldier.  What I can say definitively is that they both love their country, want the best for their country, and believe in the duty, honor, and respect.

508 PIR Dinner Banquet

The 508 PIR Association Reunion concluded that evening with a wonderful dinner banquet and was attended by a color guard of the 82nd Airborne as well as by many of active duty service members in their “dress blues”.  Looking forward to more good times next year when we meet again in Fort Bragg for the 2017 Reunion.  Airborne all the way!

 

508 PIR Oral History Inteview for Brodie Hand

CPL Brodie Hand

 

508 PIR oral history interview for Justin Graham

SSG Justin Graham

Weekly Review for Veterans and Oral History for Friday, November 6, 2015

Here are some recent articles of interest that I found this week for U.S. Veterans. Enjoy!

 

Preserving History: The Veterans History Project via the US Library of Congress

The Veterans History Project honors the lives and service of all American veterans –not only the warriors but all who have served their country, “From the motor pool to the mess hall,” as director Robert Patrick puts it. VHP collects, preserves and makes available the stories and memorabilia of American veterans so that future generations may better understand the realities of military life and of war. To date, VHP has collected items from over 98,000 veterans, about 15% of which is available online.

Read more here

 

History Tools: Exactly, a new tool to transfer digital oral history files

In Celebration of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, I want to offer you a sneak peek at a new tool we have developed and are readying for release.   This tool will enable a user friendly way for non-archivists or non-digital preservation specialists to safely transfer born digital data to the archive utilizing stringent digital preservation standards…for free.  First, a little context. 

Read more here

 

History Maker: Female Russian Fighter Ace

Lidiya Vladimirovna Litvyak, also known as Lydia Litviak or Lilya Litviak, was a fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Force during World War II. With at least 12 solo victories and at least four shared kills over a total of 66 combat missions, over about two years of missions, she was the first female fighter pilot to shoot down an enemy plane, the first female fighter pilot to earn the title fighter ace, and the holder of the record for the greatest number of kills by a female fighter pilot. She was shot down near Orel during the Battle of Kursk as she attacked a package of German planes.

Read more here

 

History Maker: 103 Year Old US WW2 Veteran has birthday and still works full-time

102883238-tdy_jones_oldest_150726.530x298A 103 year old World War Two US veteran, who served in the US Air Force, is still working a full time job in Winfieldtown, Kansas.

Read more here

 

Thank you for reading (and sharing).  Stay tuned for next week’s weekly review for U.S. Veterans.