Veterans History Project

Veterans History Project

There is perhaps no better way to learn about history than through firsthand accounts. You get a better understanding of what really happened when you hear directly from those who lived through the events. That’s what the Veterans History Project (VHP)—an initiative that aims to preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans—seeks to do. 

Since the VHP was approved by Congress in 2000, over 100,000 veterans have described their service in audio and video recordings that are now part of the collection. Submissions have been archived from veterans of World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. These men and women participated and witnessed some pivotal events in our nation’s history. 

Arkansans have a long and proud history of supporting our nation’s military. More than 200,000 veterans call Arkansas home, however only 1,200 Arkansas veterans’ stories are part of the VHP collection. I want to make sure this collection includes examples of courage, bravery and service of as many Arkansans who have worn our nation’s uniform as possible. 

Many of us have family members and friends who have served in the Armed Forces. Capturing and preserving their memories is a great way to honor their service and commitment to our country.

For more information on how you can participate in the Veterans History Project, visit

Recent 'Salute to Veterans' Highlights

Bob Beaty grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, following in the footsteps of three of his brothers who were also serving in the military. Beaty said he chose the Navy so he could travel. Although he had never been so far from home, Beaty said the ocean and Navy life suited him well. He really enjoyed visiting different countries, finding unique souvenirs and eating the local foods. Beaty maintains traveling was the best part of his service. He was discharged on October 30, 1945, and went home to Kansas City. He was married the following July to his wife Rosie, who had been his pen pal during the war. Click here to read more about his time in uniform. 

Ronald Madsen grew up in Minnesota. His family had no history of military service so he didn’t know how they would react when he was drafted. He recalled being in a movie theater when the film was interrupted to announce the end of the Korean War. Although the war was ending, he continued training before an assignment overseas. One of his favorite assignments in uniform was working in the mess hall where he was able to stay warm and dry. Click here to learn more about his memories in military service.

Gerald Vnuk grew up in Minnesota with six sisters. While his father was unable to serve in uniform, some of his uncles had military experiences, and he followed their example after being drafted in 1953 for the Korean War. Once he received his draft card, Vnuk was sent to Chicago before heading to Fort Lewis, Washington. He has many memories of his time in basic training and from working on base. Following his service in uniform, he continued to advocate for veterans. Click here to read more about his time in the military.