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Website of the Week — Veterans History Project


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

November 11 is Veterans Day in the United States, when we honor those who served our country in uniform. The holiday is only one day a year, but our Website of the Week recalls the personal stories of those men and women every day.

PATRICK: "We are currently the largest oral history in the country. The Veterans History Project contains a little bit over 45,000 collections. That includes interviews, both audio and video. And in addition to those 45,000, we have tens of thousands of letters, photographs, diaries that people have submitted to the Library of Congress here for inclusion."

Bob Patrick heads the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, online at loc.gov/vets, where you can watch or listen to many of those first-person interviews.

A few of the participants are well-known to Americans, but most are not, such as World War II veteran William Loncaric, who was with the U.S. troops who liberated Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp near Munich.

LONCARIC: "I've never seen anything like this in my life. And we must have had about 2,000 people who were ambulatory, and we were so hurt at what happened to this people that all the fellows there, even the infantry, we took our spare clothing and gave it to these guys."

TEXT: If you studied history in school, you might have learned about a couple of big battles, or who won a war. The Veterans History Project goes deeper, adding a soldier's-eye view of military experience. Some of the interviews were conducted by professional historians. Others are family projects, and Bob Patrick says doing the interview is itself an important part of the legacy.

PATRICK: "I think they also help to inspire future generations. One very important part of this project is the intergenerational part of it: the granddaughter that sits down with her grandfather who fought in World War II, say, and hear his story. And that's another part of it that these veterans and these people who did serve have the opportunity to enlighten their families and also to enlighten the nation."

Experience wartime without getting mud on your boots, through the stories of the men and women who were there. Our Website of the Week is the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress at loc.gov/vets, or get the link from our site, voanews.com.

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