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 Submissions have been archived from veterans of World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.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 250,000 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 http://www.loc.gov/vets

Featured VHP Submissions

Thomas Franklin Vaughns is a veteran of WWII and the Korean War. He was a member of the Tuskegee Airman. He was assigned to training command where his role was to make sure the aircraft was in good condition for pilots to perfect their flying skills. He signed up for the Army Reserves after WWII and was called back for duty during the Korean War. Vaughns served as a Supply Sergeant stationed at Fort Hood. Following his service in uniform, he continued his calling to help others. He spent his career supporting agriculture, teaching others farming techniques and encouraging future generations of Arkansans. Hear Vaughns memories of his time in military service in this interview.
Dr. Estella Morris has worn our nation's uniform and has dedicated her career to helping veterans. Today, Dr. Morris works for the VA as leader of the Veterans Day Treatment Center in Little Rock. She has been nationally recognized for her work in assisting homeless veterans and implementing programs to achieve long-term stability. Dr. Morris served in the Army National Guard and the Navy Reserve. She joined the military when she was 34-years-old. She talks about how her age impacted how others treated her, especially during basic training, in this interview about her time in the military.
George Vinson is a WWII Navy veteran. He enlisted in the Navy with the goal to be a fighter pilot, but the Navy assigned him to a different position. He ended up being quite happy about the role he was selected for despite it not involving flying- quartermaster. He served on the destroyer USS Edison working on the bridge, the ship’s command center. Vinson recalled working on the bridge during a mission to rescue a sailor who fell overboard a troop ship. Two additional destroyers were also searching for the sailor. Vinson said his ship made two sweeps of the area and he encouraged the Captain to make one more pass. That’s when they found the sailor who had been in the water for hours. “He could see us, but we couldn’t see him,” Vinson said. He said rescuing the sailor was one of the most rewarding experiences of his military career. Hear from Vinson about his time in uniform in this interview.