The Library of Congress Veterans History Project is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a series of online concerts and panel discussions starting on Friday and running through Nov. 14.
The virtual event is designed to inspire conversations around the collection as both an archival resource and a diverse repository of veterans’ experiences, according to a release.
"This year has been challenging, to say the least, but no less impactful than any other in VHP’s amazing 20-year history,” said Karen Lloyd, director of the Veterans History Project. “November’s events are the high point in a year of raising awareness about VHP in multiple venues.”
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of American war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.
Here's a list of what to expect:
Friday, Nov. 6 -- Barbara Martin, 8 p.m.
The singer-songwriter and Gold Star sister will perform songs she wrote honoring her brother, Dennis Martin, who was killed in Vietnam on July 10, 1970, and whose letters and photos she donated to the Veterans History Project.
Saturday, Nov. 7 -- “In Love and War” Roxanne Seeman, 8 p.m.
The Emmy-nominated composer co-wrote and arranged “In Love and War” to honor World War II veterans, including her father, whose collection she is donating. Pianist Elise Solberg and singer Hannah Goldblatt perform.
Sunday, Nov. 8 -- “Still Over There” Franklin Tootle, Operation Song, 8 p.m.
Written by Jim Collins and Air Force and Navy veteran Franklin Tootle, “Still Over There” describes Tootle’s journey with PTSD as a result of his service in Iraq and how his commitment to country, family and his fellow veterans drives him daily. Operation Song is a Tennessee-based nonprofit program that pairs veterans, active-duty military, and their families with professional songwriters to help them tell their stories, totaling over 700 to date.
Monday, Nov. 9 -- Conversation on Conversing: Veterans discuss VHP participation, 12 p.m.
Veterans of various generations, conflicts and backgrounds discuss the process of submitting a collection of their unique military memories to the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
Tuesday, Nov. 10 -- “Old Glory” Kimberly Mitchell, Operation Song, 8 p.m.
Written by Cindy Morgan and Kimberly Mitchell, “Old Glory” displays Mitchell’s dedication to Vietnam era veterans through her experience assisting with the Old Glory Yellow Ribbon Honor Flight, which takes these veterans on an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. and returns them home as heroes to the AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Thursday, Nov. 12 -- Organizational benefits to collaborating with VHP panel discussion, 12 p.m.
A group of renowned liaisons who masterfully use the Veterans History Project discuss how they engage with their communities to ensure their local veteran and Gold Star family members’ contributions are not forgotten, but forever archived and made available for all.
Friday, Nov. 13 -- “Precious Pearl” Kim Mitchell, Operation Song, 7 p.m.
Written by Cindy Morgan and Navy veteran Kimberly Mitchell, “Precious Pearl” tells Mitchell’s story who as a baby during Vietnam was found on the roadside, clinging to the body of her deceased mother. A South Vietnamese Marine carried her to the Sacred Heart Orphanage in Da Nang, Vietnam where she was adopted by a U.S. Airman and brought back to Wisconsin from where she dedicated her life to service.
Saturday, Nov. 14 -- Volunteering to Make History panel discussion, 12 p.m.
A compelling group of interviewers, from students to professionals, share their experiences, best practices and what the Veterans History Project has meant to them.
The Veterans History Project kicked off its 20th anniversary year last fall with a Veteran Art Showcase. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, VHP began offering virtual programming in lieu of the many in-person commemorative events being planned.
The events will premiere on the Veterans History Project’s Facebook page: