Texas Aggie Veterans share stories for NPR
The Eagle, Bryan, Texas
Aggie veterans are sharing their stories this week.
StoryCorps, a nonprofit group focused on preserving the stories of people of all backgrounds and beliefs, is at Texas A&M throughout this week, and will interview about 20 or so students, faculty, staff and residents. Interviewers started recording Tuesday morning and will wrap up Friday afternoon. The trip is part of their Military Voices Initiative, focused primarily on post-9/11 veterans. Some of the interviews will be edited and aired nationally on NPR.
Retired U.S. Marine Col. Jerry Smith, director of the Veteran Resource and Support Center, said A&M administrators reached out to the nonprofit agency to set up the interviews, which will ultimately be archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
"At A&M, we're trying to be a leader in the state and nation in terms of veteran support, and this is another opportunity to get the stories of Aggies out there and chronicled in the Library of Congress," Smith said.
The project is designed to benefit the veterans and help community members connect with them.
"A lot of them haven't told their story to anybody since they left the military, even spouses and family members," Smith said. "I wouldn't call it therapy, but it's good to talk it out in some cases. Also, we're at a point now where less than 1 percent of America has served in these conflicts. It's not an all time historic low, but with fewer and fewer Americans serving in the military it's important to get these stories out, chronicle them."
Aggie Rejy Bacchus, a veteran of the Marine Corps and a senior majoring in tourism management, said it's important for veterans and civilians to understand each other. He recorded his segment Tuesday afternoon. In the segments, the interviewee sits down and talks with a friend or family member. Bacchus brought along his friend Karen Cambronero.
"It went really well," Bacchus. "I was a little apprehensive of it at first, but when I got in there it was just me talking to a friend. It felt really good to do it."
StoryCorps senior facilitator John White said the interviews at A&M include veterans, their family members and reservists.
"Texas A&M has a large community like that," White said. "We want to make sure that the archive we create is representative of all Americans. It's great to come to a community like this because it has such great diversity and such a large population of service members here."