Credit: USA Today

The Veterans History Project is a wonderful initiative that collects oral histories of American veterans so that future generations can hear these collected histories and better understand the realities of war. The collection is stored at the Library of Congress as part of the American Folklife Center. The database can also be accessed online.

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Twice per year, the Iowa Court Reporters Association (ICRA), in conjunction with the National Court Reporters Association, gathers volunteers to record veteran stories. This year, our own Julie McCurnin participated at the ICRA Annual Conference. Her husband, Mike, also volunteered. It’s important to note, you don’t have to be a court reporter to record a veteran’s story! The VHP provides a Field Kit for volunteers to read through the directions for collecting interviews.

Prior to Mike and Julie beginning the interview process, they were given a brief bio of their veteran along with sample questions to ask. The group of veterans included eight, male Vietnam War vets and one female Gulf War vet. Each veteran was acknowledged for their service and presented with a certificate.

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Julie was partnered with a Vietnam War veteran named Jim. He was a mere 19 years old when he went off to war.

“This fact was not lost on me.  That is the current age of my son who is home now after completing his first year of college.  I was in a constant state of awe listening to this gentle man (purposely written as two words 😉) relate experiences that can only be imagined by me as incredibly horrific.”

Julie relayed that participating in the event was an absolute honor, and she looks forward to volunteering again. We’re proud to have her as a Susan Frye Court Reporter!

We encourage you to learn more about this project and volunteer if the chance is presented. These stories are too important to be forgotten and should be permanently placed in our country’s history.