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 Submissions have been archived from veterans of World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.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

WWII veteran Paul Lux enlisted in the Army. He wasn’t fond of the drilling so he sought a cooking position and was assigned to be first cook. “I never cooked a day in my life. I couldn’t boil water,” he laughed. His on-the-job training taught him well as he worked his way up to mess sergeant. The enthusiasm Lux had for his time in uniform continues to show more than seven decades after he was discharged. Hear more about his military life in this interview.
WWII veteran Robert Stroud Jr. served in the Navy Construction Battalion (CB). Before deploying to the Pacific Theater, Stroud trained in California. “They told us we were going to have six weeks of hard training and you’re going to wish you were dead every day,” Stroud said. “You know what? They were right.” Here more about Stroud's time in uniform in this video.
Navy veteran Mabel Thomsen was in the hospital corps and assisted doctors with female patients. She remembers nearly having to deliver a baby, but the doctor arrived just in time. In 2018 Mabel is celebrating her 101st birthday. She still remembers what she did at the end of the day to cope with the conditions of boot camp. “I sat with my feet in hot water every night. I had to walk everywhere in those GI shoes they gave us. It was awful.” Watch more of Thomsen interview about career in the Navy.