America loses hundreds of World War II veterans every day. With them go invaluable eyewitness accounts of a pivotal time in history. The producers of the Ken Burns documentary The War, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Library of Congress are all working to preserve stories of the WWII years, both from combat and from the homefront. Here are three ways to share yours:
You can type in your story at our Stories from Viewers page, which also includes instructions for sending photos. Or you may choose to call a toll-free number to record a story. You will be given the number after registering.
These stories will be shared online through KET’s web site, the national web site for The War at PBS Online, and local sites set up by other public television stations around the country. You can read stories others have already submitted on the Explore Stories page.
The Kentucky Historical Society has a network of trained oral historians who would like to talk with Kentucky veterans and record their stories. These stories will become part of the Kentucky Oral History Commission archive and will be accessible through the Historical Society web site. Call the KHS toll-free at (866) 291-8189 to make arrangements.
The Library of Congress set up the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect written stories, photos, audio and video recordings, diaries, letters, and other firsthand accounts of wars in which America has been involved. These materials are not shared online. Instead, they become part of the national historical archives in Washington, DC. You’ll find details about the project and how to participate at the Veterans History Project web site.
Collecting stories by interviewing family members, friends, and neighbors makes a great project for a class or organization. The downloadable Veterans History Project field kit (PDF format) gives step-by-step instructions on conducting interviews and on sending tapes or documents to the LOC.