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 Submissions have been archived from veterans of World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.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

Cecil Blair, a WWII veteran was born on February 28, 1923 in Magic Springs, Arkansas, today it’s called Witts Springs. The lifelong Searcy County resident grew up on his family’s farm. As a teenager Blair worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps before being drafted into the Army in May 1943. He didn’t know it at the time, but the training that he and his fellow troops were undergoing in England was in preparation for D-Day. “We got on a boat and went across, but I didn’t make land. They hit the ship I was on and had to pull us back,” Blair said. It was another three days after D-Day before Blair landed in France. “That’s when all hell broke loose.” Hear more about his military service in this video.
Edwin ‘Pete’ Ross enlisted in the Army. After successful completion of his service in Okinawa during the Korean War he was discharged. He enjoyed military service and wanted to continue serving so in 1953 he joined the Air Force where he was able to retain his rank as an E-5. Ross played a critical role in maintaining personnel records, counseling on survivor benefits and assisting retirees with their benefits. In addition, he served as the base career advisor with the responsibility of reenlisting the airmen or helping them transition to civilian life.
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.