Remembering Our Veterans

In honor of next week’s Veterans Day, I thought I’d highlight the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center. Created in 2000, the project “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.” In addition to those who are veterans of World War I through the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, the project is interested in the stories of civilian U.S. citizens who were actively involved in supporting war efforts, such as war industry workers, USO workers, flight instructors, medical volunteers, and so on. You can find out about how to participate; the project also encourages schools and students to get involved. Stories can be told through personal narratives, correspondence, and visual materials. Also be sure to check out Niles (Ill.) Public Library District’s companion blog to its Veterans History Project.

How are libraries honoring Veterans Day? Many by being closed for the day, but there are libraries with programs schedule before or on the holiday:

  • The Lafourche Parish Library is offering events at a number of its branches, including brunches, socials, concerts, open houses, and receptions. In addtion, the he South Lafourche Public Library’s annual veterans display will feature 100-year old Louis Lee, Jr., a veteran of World War II.

  • The Bay County (Fla.) Public Library is holding its second annual Veterans Celebration on November 6. A panel of veterans will talk about their experiences in combat, with several area authors also slated to speak at the event. There will also be video presentations and display cases filled with historical artifacts.

  • Local poets Rodger Martin and Pam Bernard will read from their new collections on war at the Keene (N.H.) Public Library. Martin’s collection, The Battlefield Guide, explores the Civil War while Pam Bernard’s Blood Garden, an Elegy for Raymond retells the experience of her father who participated in WWI.

  • The Lake Bluff (Ill.) Public Library invites the community to meet its local heroes this evening. Lake Bluff veterans Jack Meierhoff, Herbert Richards, Tony Babnik, and Bill Dobbins, who fought in either in the Vietnam War, Korean War, or WWII, share their stories and answer questions about serving their country. In addition, Carole Stroh will address the changes and sacrifices made in one’s daily life on the home front.

  • The Main Library of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County will host a talk with World War II veteran Tom Anderson, an Army Ranger during the Battle of the Bulge. Other Verterans Day events include “Veteran Ancestors: Those Other Wars,” which offers information about finding ancestors in lesser known wars with Curt Witcher, historical genealogy department manager at Allen County Public Library; and Glenna Meckstroth will discuss her recent book Surviving World War II: Tales of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times.

Is you library honoring veterans, either before or during Veterans Day?