During the National World War II Reunion, more than 100 volunteers from the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and other organizations collected veterans' stories of wartime service for the Veterans History Project. Clad in purple VHP T-shirts and armed with audio recorders, the volunteers roamed the National Mall looking for veterans willing to participate. Once identified, veterans were asked a series of questions about their experiences during the war. For many, this was the first time they had spoken about their personal wartime experiences. These special on-the-spot recordings have since been digitized and are fully accessible on VHP’s website (www.loc.gov/vets).along with letters, photographs and written memoirs. Photos from this historic event are collected here in four sections, grouped by themes.
“The dedicated corps of VHP ‘Man-on-the-Mall’ interviewers was essential to the success of this effort,” said Veterans History Project Director Robert Patrick. “They skillfully provided an opportunity for World War II veterans to open their hearts and minds and relate their inspirational wartime experiences.”
“Our volunteers did a great service during the National World War II Reunion, not just to veterans and their families, but for the national record in furthering the collection and preservation of veterans' stories at the Library of Congress. It was an incredible experience, knowing that for many World War II veterans this might be the last national gathering," recalls Anneliesa Clump Alprin, the then VHP public-affairs specialist who helped to manage the volunteers.