Veterans History Project
Oral History of Veterans.
Welcome to the 32nd Carnival of Genealogy. The theme: Family Stories of Wartime. The entries span the Revolutionary War to the Korean Conflict.
On the same day I was reading through the submitted entries, I asked my SO to set the TiVo to record all seven episodes of Ken Burns’s The War (begins Sunday, 23 September on PBS), a 14+ hour documentary that tells the story of World War 2 through the eyes of ordinary people from four American communities. “In extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives.” We also watched a documentary that the TiVo recorded earlier this year: The Perilous Fight: WW2 in color. Color motion picture was accompanied by excerpts from diaries and letters written by those who lived it. It was a (mostly) sober couple of hours of non-Glenn Miller getting In The Mood (er, not that mood) for the Carnival, and for the upcoming Ken Burns documentary.
Ken Burns and PBS are promoting the The Veteran’s History Project (VHP), a nationwide oral history project to record and preserve the stories of Americans in wartime at the Library of Congress.
The common theme of the documentaries, the VHP, and this carnival: Great historical events do not belong to the Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, War Secretaries and Generals, decision makers and strategists. When one nation fights another, the war is experienced from family to family, household to household. Whether victim, refugee, prisoner, laborer, soldier, the events of that war seep into every corner of a nation.
So here are some stories of war from the households of family (and neighbors) of the carnival partipants.
Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings tells us the story of Patriot Soldier, Isaac Buck, one of his favorite ancestors and his service and war pension. Good for Isaac Buck that he received a pension, and good for Randy that the records are there to tell him of his ancestor.
This past spring, I interviewed my dad, with the Veteran’s History Project in mind. Dad was in the Navy, going to school on a ROTC scholarship, and serving in and around the Korean War. We paged through a scrapbook that his Mom kept for him, and he told me stories about the pictures and items therein. The stories from that interview session mostly concern his beginnings in the Navy. I asked him a question to clarify a term he used about his training, and he told me two related stories about his work in the Navy. (oh, and digital, in this case, refers to fingers, not bits)
I wanted to clarify something he mentioned earlier. I asked, “When you said ‘the physical aspect of naval training’ and that was when you were talking about navigation… when you say ‘physical aspect’ what [did that mean]?”
Well where you learn how to use a sextant, how you use a bearing circle, how to determine the direction—the ship’s compass, and the various aids to navigation that you would have. You could use your sextant to determine the altitude of stars, but first you had to learn how to identify the stars. I still have a sextant; people don’t tend to use those anymore because of the advent of the global positioning system. But I still have the sextant, and can operate it. ...Read More
I just signed up for Podcamp, Thursday Sept 27. Ontario California. That’s the day before
Podcast New Media Expo begins (Sept 28, 29) I’ll do a presentation on the Veterans History Project for Podcasters. Nothing like a deadline to get some motivation going. Oh, and that means I should revive my feebly-begun but hey I can start again anytime podcast.
A blogger named Merujo notes that her sister taped a talk her mom gave to the U.S. Air Force Association about her involvement as a WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in WW2; it’ll be broadcast today on the radio in a part of Illinois called the Quad Cities area (of which I know not). Later, the station will put a link to the audio up on its site.
For more background, she has a commentary on a radio station (Honoring Women at Arlington) about her mother. I do happen to know that the Veterans History Project is looking for oral histories of Women who served in the military– including WASPS.
Ken Burns, creator of the upcoming WW2 documentary, The War, together with PBS puts muscle behind Veterans History Project. The War begins airing September 23.
Some background: The War tells the story about WW2 from the perspective of four American cities. While Burns was filming interviews with WW2 Vets and participatns, he thought, “Hey! We ought to create a national effort to preserve and capture the stories of those who participated!” Not long into his own efforts to spearhead such an endeavor, he learned of the Veterans History Project. Instead of duplicating efforts, Burns and PBS are joining forces in a combined campaign to encourage people to participate in the Veterans History Project. Expect to see more publicity about VHP in the future.
What is the “Ken Burns Effect”? It’s that pan and scan on documentary photographs that Burns ...Read More
KPCC ran a story yesterday about Cal State Fullerton gathering oral history of the El Toro Marine base in Southern California. It’s near where I grew up, so it’s local history for me. How nice after having just gone to Cal State Fullerton’s campus for an oral history conference to hear the Center for Oral and Public History make the news. Too, I liked hearing the perspective of the one student who’s a marine. Semper Fi. [link goes to page with Real Audio link, story is ~3+ mins long]