Oftentimes, veterans speak about their military units as if they were families, given the tight bonds that develop between comrades. But for some veterans, “brothers in arms” is more than a figurative turn of phrase. During the 20th century, war frequently touched multiple relatives and generations of the same family. Brothers enlisted together, or a father’s legacy inspired children to join up. Sweethearts met and married while in uniform. Here, we spotlight eight families whose stories are told through Veterans History Project collections, which include original correspondence, memoirs, diaries, photographs and oral history interviews. These sets of narratives not only illustrate the experiences of individual veterans, but also provide an intimate glimpse into families’ legacies of military service. Find out how to participate and learn more about the project.
The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.