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Veterans History Project: Celebrating 20 Years

20th Anniversary Event Videos

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) hosted a series of musical performances and discussion panels that inspired conversations around the collection as both an archival resource and a diverse repository of veterans’ experiences—a mission it has met for the past 20 years.

The Veterans History Project kicked off its 20th anniversary year with a Veteran Art Showcase, demonstrating the many ways veterans use the arts and personal narrative to help them transition to civilian life. When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, VHP began offering virtual programming in lieu of the many in-person commemorative events being planned.

November 6, 2020 - Barbara Martin

The noted singer songwriter and Gold Star sister performs 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 (18 minutes 49 seconds)

Over a career spanning more than 20 years, Barbara Martin has covered a lot of musical ground, unafraid to explore new territory at each turn. In the early years, she performed country, folk, New-Wave rock and toured the singer-songwriter circuit. But when Martin began listening to Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace and Billie Holiday and working with blues and jazz guitarist Mac Walter and bassist Steve Wolf in the early 90s, she realized blues and jazz were her musical raison d'etre. Among her plentiful talents, she had found her most compelling and comfortable niche. Today Martin is best known not only for being an accomplished vocal interpreter of the great jazz and blues standards; but also for her ability to stretch the boundaries of the female jazz and blues singer image. She writes award-winning songs. She plays guitar. She collaborates with other acclaimed artists to produce engaging live shows and music education programs. She is as comfortable in a New York cabaret show or a major venue like The Kennedy Center as she is in an intimate house concert or a bohemian café. Martin's expertise and talent place her squarely in the company of the legends she teaches about in her educational series "Women of Blues and Jazz," but it is her ability to transition smoothly from chanteuse to girl-next-door to perceptive poet that makes her so delightfully her own woman. Barbara Martin's comfort with all these sides of herself and the way she articulates it in song shows us that being true to ourselves is the fulfillment of our oft life-diverted dreams.

November 7, 2020 - “In Love and War” Roxanne Seeman

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. (9 minutes 15 seconds)

November 8, 2020 - “Still Over There” Franklin Tootle, Operation Song

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. (11 minutes 11 seconds)

November 9, 2020 - Conversation on Conversing: Veterans Discuss VHP Participation

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. (1 hour 7 minutes 19 seconds)

November 10, 2020 - “Old Glory” Kimberley Mitchell, Operation Song

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. (7 minutes 32 seconds)

November 12, 2020 - Organizational Benefits to Collaborating with VHP

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. (1 hour 19 minutes 18 seconds)

November 13, 2020 - “Precious Pearl” Kim Mitchell, Operation Song

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. (10 minutes 12 seconds)

Saturday, November 14, 2020 - Volunteering to Make History

In this panel discussion, a compelling group of interviewers, from students to professionals, share their experiences, best practices and what the Veterans History Project has meant to them. (1 hours 34 minutes 19 seconds)