By: Kerry Ward
Since 2000, the Veterans History Project (VHP), a congressionally mandated effort at the Library of Congress, has been collecting, preserving and making accessible veterans’ personal stories through oral histories, original letters, journals and photographs. Home to over 110,000 personal narratives of those who have served our nation from World War I through the most recent conflicts, this treasured archive is filled with the thoughts and emotions of people who were on the frontlines of history. Two such veterans are brothers Kurt and Patrick Garman of Reno, NV. With a rich family history of military pilots, the brothers chose to honor their heritage through serving as pilots with the U.S. Army (Patrick) and the U.S. Navy (Kurt) during the time of the Persian Gulf War. Though serving at the same time and both as helicopter pilots, Patrick was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Storm while Kurt served as the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Program Manager responsible for training and development of tactical techniques. Kurt acknowledged the juxtaposition during his Veterans History Project interview with the Regional Technical Institute and the Daughters of the American Revolution when he noted that, “everyone has their strengths and weaknesses – the military offered an opportunity to play to those strengths.”
Kurt and Patrick’s accurate and personal views are now a part of the unique tapestry that makes up our national history. You too can make history. If you are a civilian, volunteer to record the story of the veteran in your life. For veterans, this is your opportunity to share your memories and opinions with someone interested who will appreciate the sacrifice you made for your country. When you participate in this Project, you will answer the call to duty once more by leaving a legacy for generations to come.
For more information, visit loc.gov/vets/ or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news. Follow VHP on Facebook @vetshistoryproject.
By: Kerry Ward