Project turns veterans' recollections into preserved oral history

By ANNIE CHARNLEY EVELAND | Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Wash. | Published: March 27, 2014

American Red Cross volunteer Dixie Ferguson is a fan of the best sort. Not only does she listen to the experiences of U.S. military veterans from all wars, she records their stories as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.

The project also seeks the stories of civilians who actively supported war efforts, such as war industry and USO workers and medical volunteers.

“There are millions of American veterans living today, each with a unique story to tell,” Dixie said.

Researchers tap into the first-hand accounts, which are archived at the Library of Congress.

“The American Red Cross is also committed to safeguarding these valuable stories before they are lost forever,” Dixie said

Blue Mountain Chapter of the American Red Cross has conducted interviews at the Veterans Center, 1104 W. Poplar St., for almost a year. Complimentary copies of the DVD recordings are provided to the veteran and family members, Dixie said.

“This has proven to be a very meaningful oral history, which can be shared as a family legacy, she said.

And timely, for the most senior veterans are nearing the end of their lives. Having their stories preserved is a valuable treasure. Statistics released by the Veteran’s Administration report that World War II vets are dying at a rate of about 550 a day. Approximately 1.2 million veterans remain of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II.


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