A project to gather hundreds of veterans stories is getting a new life on this Veterans Day.
The Missouri Veterans Stories program had digitally recorded memories of more than700 former Missouri soldiers before the legislature cut its half-million dollar appropriation earlier this year. But it’s been resurrected as the Missouri Veterans History Project and being unveiled today in Columbia. The program links volunteers with veterans, the state historical society, and the University of Missouri. Representative Jill Schlupp of Creve Coeur got the program going again. The old program had been operated out of Lieutenant Governor Kinder’s office.
Oral historian Jeff Corrigan with the state historical society says many veterans underestimate their value to history. “They have a story to tell..a side of that war, that conflict to talk about, something that they don’t even think about,” he says. He says many veterans don’t think they have stories to tell because they did not face combat. But Corrigan says they also have stories to tell that can give a more complete picture of the conflict.
Corrigan says the collection of World War II memories is critical because there are only a couple million veterans of that war left, and they’re dying at a rate of about 1,000 a day.
He says the new program will need some time to reach people but he hopes veterans and their families will be getting in tough to get on the interview list.