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 Submissions have been archived from veterans of World War I through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.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

Eustace O. Roberts Jr. “June” grew up in Magazine, Arkansas. He joined the Army on May 8, 1941 in Little Rock and headed to San Francisco days later where he boarded a ship to begin the long journey to his assignment in the 60th Coast Artillery on Corregidor, the largest island in Manila Bay. When Corregidor fell to the Japanese, Roberts and his fellow comrades became Prisoners of War. For more than three years, Roberts was known by his POW number, four digits that are still easy for the 100-year-old to remember in both English and Japanese. You had to know it or “they’d beat the hell out of you,” he said. In this video he shares his memories of his time as a POW.

Col. (retired) Jesse Lewis grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, the home of Naval Station Norfolk. He learned firsthand about military service from his father who served in the Navy and continued serving his country as a civilian at the naval base after concluding his time in uniform. After graduating from Old Dominion University, Lewis worked at a Norfolk YMCA when he considered a career change because he knew he was about to get drafted. “I had a fraternity brother who was in Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Fort Benning, Georgia and he had written me a letter and told me OCS was great. I should join the Army,” Lewis said. He took the test and qualified for an OCS appointment. Lewis shares his memories of his tour in Vietnam and continued his service as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard and then the Army Reserve in this video.
The late William Kenneth Harp was a WWII veteran who served in the European Theater. He was drafted into the Army, but was granted a waiver until the birth of his first son. By November 1942, Harp was on a ship headed to Europe where his assignment was to search for mines ahead of the advancing Allied Forces. In this interview, conducted a few weeks before Harp's death, he shares his memories of military service.