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StoryCorps: Preserving the History of Our Nation’s Service Members

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Veterans and Military Families
CNCS Staff

Around the country, December is welcomed as a month of hope and good cheer. It may be a season for exchanging gifts, or for sharing time and resources with community members in need. For many, it is also a time to gather together with loved ones to reminisce about cherished memories and create new stories that will be shared in the future. Such stories preserve the legacy of a family, the history of a generation, and perhaps most important of all, the story of a nation.

We All Have a Story to Tell

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division load onto a C-17 Globermaster III during Large Package Week that happens in conjunction with Joint Operational Access Exercise in Fort Bragg, NC, Oct. 11, 2012. The exercise utilizes several Air Force aircraft to strategically airdrop troops and cargo. (U.S. Army photo)

There are many organizations that believe in the power of the story and they, along with the support of volunteers, work to collect and preserve the stories of everyday Americans from all walks of life. Recently, the nonprofit StoryCorps, in partnership with the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project (VHP) -- one of the nation's largest repositories of veterans' written and oral testimonies about their military service -- launched their Military Voices Initiative (MVI).

StoryCorps is working to collect many Americans' stories, but the goal of the MVI is to capture the experiences of our nation's armed forces, particularly more recent veterans. The stories they collect will be archived by the Library of Congress for future generations to learn from and enjoy. By working with family members or friends of the veteran, they also help these loved ones share powerful individual memories that preserve the lives and legacies of the nation's service members.

How You Can Get Involved

The Veterans History Project has hundreds of stories that were collected by national service members from the Senior Corps and AmeriCorps programs, some of whom are veterans themselves.

Take a look at some of these stories and visit the VHP's website for guides on how to get started. Want to organize a large scale collection event? Visit our resources section to find a toolkit about planning your own community service project around this initiative.


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