Recordings preserve veterans’ stories for generations

It is generally known by those who have loved ones that served during wars, that the veterans often do not talk about their experiences. For some, it is too painful to talk about the horrors of war.

Some will open up to fellow veterans years later, often times before they would tell a family member about their experiences on the battlefield.

Those veterans have a resource in Brevard County where they can tell their stories that will be preserved for generations of their families or anyone, through the archives of the Library of Congress.

The Veterans History Project is part of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress that records and archives the war experiences of U.S. military veterans.

The project, which receives broad support, was created by Congress and signed into law in October 2000.

Nearly 200 veterans in Brevard County have shared their stories at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center. The Center has three volunteer videographers and two assistants to record the veterans. The video is then sent to the Library of Congress, which takes several months to post it. The Veterans Memorial Center keeps a copy, which it shares with the families of the veterans.

Once the stories are posted in the Library of Congress, anyone can search for the stories by going to loc.gov/vets/   

"Each family gets a DVD and that’s important," said Donn Weaver, who is the special projects coordinator for the Veterans Memorial Center. "We’ve done a couple at nursing homes."

If a veteran cannot make it to the center, volunteers have gone to the veterans to record their stories.

It is important to record the stories for generations to come. Just recently a World War II veteran died within about four hours of recording his story, some of which his family had not heard before. Now his story will be preserved in the Library of Congress.

The interviews can take from half an hour to two hours. The stories can include time in the service as well as time spent after leaving the  military.

To arrange an appointment to tell your story, contact Donn Weaver at 321-613-2403 or jdweaver@cfl.rr.com, Julie Adamson at 321-446-4663 or Chip Hanson at 321-543-7505 or chipvietnam68@aol.com.