Congressman Tom Latham thanked 23 Iowa veterans – including Don Reese of Madrid – for documenting their wartime memories at the fifth annual Veterans History Project Nov. 8 at AIB College of Business.
"There are a lot of people who glorify war, and you are the folks who know that it is not glorious – and it’s really horrible at times." Latham told the veterans. "It is absolutely critical that the next generation and generations after that know exactly what did happen – the real stories that you lived and the service that you gave to our great country."
The Veterans History Project was created by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to collect and archive the personal recollections of U.S. wartime veterans of any past or current conflicts, so their stories can be told to future generations.
At AIB, volunteer interviewers question veterans, while volunteer court reporters write their responses on steno machines. Volunteer videographers also record the interviews.
The court reporters are from the Iowa Court Reporters Association, and they partner with the National Court Reporters Association and Foundation for the Veterans History Project.
The responses will be archived at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Participating veterans will receive DVDs and transcribed copies of the interview.
Volunteers at AIB’s Veterans History Project have now documented more than 130 veterans’ stories. This year, veterans from World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam shared their experiences.
Bob Hollliday, chairman of the board of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum in Johnston, told the veterans, "There are a lot of people in the world who are jealous of us, and it all boils down to one word: freedom. Our veterans have always preserved those freedoms for us. We continue to have those freedoms, thanks to people like you."
Iowa American Legion Department Adjutant John Derner awarded scholarships from the group to two AIB students, Cortez Loera of Sioux City and Rachael Roeder of Ankeny.
"Every generation of this nation’s history has had people willing to step forward and defend our country, defend our principles and, most of all, defend our liberties and freedoms," Derner said. "That continuity of service is something we all need to recognize."
For more information about the entire Veterans History Project, go to www.loc.gov/vets.