Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to our soldiers past and present, at home and abroad. Thank you for our very worthy Christmas present: the gift of freedom.
Recently, as in two days ago, I learned that there are at least 2 Veteran’s Oral History Projects, with one of them specifically for Vietnam Veterans.
The first is the Veterans History Project, part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress:
The Veterans History Project… is primarily an oral history program that collects and preserves the first-hand interviews of America’s wartime veterans. VHP relies on volunteers, both individuals and organizations, throughout the nation to contribute veterans’ stories to VHP. In addition to audio- and video-recorded interviews, VHP accepts memoirs, collections of original photographs and letters, diaries, maps, and other historical documents from World War I through current conflicts.
The second Oral History Project is at the Vietnam Center and Archive located at Texas Tech University:
In 1999 the Vietnam Center and Archive initiated the Oral History Project (OHP). The history of the wars in Southeast Asia is not complete without the inclusion of the voices of those who were in some way involved. To that end, the mission of the OHP is to create and preserve a more complete record of the wars in Southeast Asia by preserving, through recorded interviews, the recollections and experiences of all who were involved in those wars. There is no political agenda in the development of the Archive or the Oral History Project. Anyone can participate, whether an American veteran, a former ally or enemy of the U.S., an anti-war protester, a government employee, a family member of a veteran, etc. The more breadth and depth the OHP has in its participants, the better and more authentic the collection and preservation of the history of the wars will be.
Participation information is provided on both websites. Plus anyone can listen to the audio recordings or read the interview transcripts once they are made available at each respective location or online.
I have no recollection of learning about Veterans Day in elementary school but I do recall wishing my dad a Happy Veterans Day when I was seven or eight; casually expressed as I walked past him while he was working in the garage. It was only years later that he told me how much weight those words carried. So again dad, Happy Veterans Day.
I would also like to thank all of my ancestors who fought for this land: in the French and Indian War; the American Revolutionary War, where one of my ancestors served with George Washington; the War of 1812; the Civil War; and, WWII.
AO contained a known poison but because it was not weaponized or at least not classified as a chemical weapon (i.e., its target was not humans) its use was acceptable. There are now 15 diseases linked to AO exposure including Type 2 Diabetes, which my dad was diagnosed with in 2006. Like many soldiers, he was told not to worry about it; harmless they said.