Press announcement, FYI:

Public Affairs Office
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC 20540-1610
Phone (202) 707-2905
Fax (202) 707-9199
E-mail [log in to unmask]

February 12, 2004
Press contacts:
Anneliesa Clump Behrend (202) 707-9822, [log in to unmask]
Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940, [log in to unmask]


"Lessons of War" Goes Online Feb. 16

A new collection of 18 fully digitized collections of materials submitted
by veterans and civilians will be available for the first time on the
Library of Congress Web site on Feb. 16 at

This is the third set of individual stories - comprising interviews,
letters, photographs and written memoirs - to be featured on the site,
which is titled "Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History
Project."  Last year, 44 stories on the themes of Courage, Patriotism and
Community, Sweethearts, Family Ties and Buddies debuted.  "Lessons of War,"
the latest addition of stories, complements the growing online collection.

This third presentation of personal narratives includes moving tales that
span the themes of "mission,"
"A life-altering experiences" and "hurry up and wait." The digitized
materials are part of the continuing effort by the Library to make its
collections accessible online. The Veterans History Project of the American
Folklife Center plans to make other stories from the 13,000 submissions the
project has received available in the future.

AWe encourage everyone to visit the Veterans History Project site and learn
about "lessons of war" and to ask a veteran or civilian supporter, "What
did you do during the war?"  said Peggy Bulger, director of the American
Folklife Center.

One of the featured veterans, Rafael Hirtz, was the son of a wealthy
businessman with contacts all over the world.  When Hirtz attended the
Berlin Olympics in 1936 as a teenager, he could sense the storm that was
brewing in Europe. After the United States entered World War II, he dropped
out of college, so eager to serve against Hitler that he took on the
dangerous job of spying for the newly formed Office of Strategic Services.

In 1942 a young Oregonian, Jeanne Holm, was determined to serve in World
War II.  Holm was among the first women to enlist in the military - the
beginning of a life-altering experience for her. Starting out as an Army
truck driver, Holm soon became an officer and a leader. At war's end her
patriotic impulse developed into an Air Force career of more than 30 years.
Holm wrote three books on women in the military, stories in which she
played a major role thanks to her advocacy while on active duty and during
her retirement. General Holm serves on the Veterans History Project Five
Star Advisory Council.

Veterans from World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam and
Persian Gulf wars, and the civilians who supported them, are coming forward
to record their personal stories and contribute personal documents for a
growing archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of
Congress. The goal is to collect, preserve and share with future
generations the stories of all American war veterans.

Authorized by legislation passed in 2000, the project is being carried out
in the way that Congress envisioned:  with grandchildren interviewing
grandparents, veterans interviewing each other, and students conducting
interviews as part of classroom assignments. This program is the only
nationwide oral history and documentation effort that relies on volunteers
rather than professional oral historians to collect stories and artifacts.
AARP is the founding sponsor of the project, with more than 900 other
organizations also participating.

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress was created in 1976
to document, preserve and present all aspects of traditional culture and
life in America. With more than 2 million items, it maintains the largest
repository of traditional cultural documentation in the United States.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to
making life better for older Americans.

Those who are interested in becoming involved in the Veterans History
Project are encouraged to e-mail the office at [log in to unmask] to request a
project information kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History
Project Web site at or call the toll-free message line at
(888) 371-5848.

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PR 04-21
ISSN 0731-3527