The Student Veterans Organization (SVO) at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tenn. – in collaboration with the Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress – invites U.S. military veterans to share their stories of service April 18-19 on the Columbia Campus in the Waymon L. Hickman Building. Any U.S. veteran is welcome to participate.
The Veterans History Project is an archive that preserves narratives of veterans’ service through oral history interviews and documents such as photographs, letters, journals and diaries created while in the military, so that researchers and future generations can access these firsthand accounts and better understand the realities of war.
“Every day we lose more and more stories that can no longer be told,” said David Donnelly, Columbia State SVO president. “As a veteran, telling stories is a way to share what we are most proud of. It was a way of life for us for many years that we don’t have out in the civilian world, so this is a way for us to show what we experienced.”
Veterans can sign up for a recorded oral history interview that will last from 30-90 minutes, or can bring original documents to donate. To pick up paperwork and instructions, visit the Columbia State website at www.ColumbiaState.edu/VeteransHistoryProject, or contact Ginny Massey-Holt, Columbia State SVO adviser and associate professor of nursing, at (931) 540-2602. Interview slots must be signed up for ahead of time.
“This project is going to allow Columbia State students from a variety of departments and organizations, including members of the Columbia State history department and Phi Theta Kappa honor society, to come together to collect the stories in our community,” Holt said. “Veterans have an option of where their stories can be archived, and have the right to withdraw that information at any time in the future.”
VHP also collects oral histories with Gold Star Family members, defined as a parent, spouse, sibling or child of members of the U.S. Armed Forces who died as a result of their service during a period of war.
These documents and interviews will become part of the permanent collections of the Library of Congress and will be made available to researchers and the general public via the American Folklife Center Reading Room and the VHP website. For more information about the Veterans History Project, visit www.loc.gov/vets.
The American Legion is a Founding Partner of the Veterans History Project, which was founded in 2000. Several area Legionnaires are expected to take part in the Columbia State interviews, a Legion information table will be set up at the event, and historical displays from National Headquarters will also be present.