Tales of war can captivate audiences of all ages. Local veterans who wish to share them can do so through the Veteran's History Project, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom Marino and the U.S. Library of Congress.
Marino, R-Lycoming Township, said he is launching the project in the 10th Congressional District as a way to honor the men and women who served in the armed forces. The project will include recording of veterans' oral histories, which will be posted online and maintained in files at the Library of Congress, where they can be reviewed at any time.
Marino said the project is being done in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Library of Congress and commemorates the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"The Library of Congress reaches out to members of Congress annually to participate, and as soon as I heard about it, I said, ‘We're in. We have to do this,' "Marino said.
The congressman said he hopes local veterans will respond to his call for participation. He expressed particular concern that many World War II veterans may not participate and are dying off each day.
He said he has heard many interesting local stories from area vets and wishes to keep them alive. For example, one local World War II veteran got married right before he left for war and did not see his child for a few years, since this was before the digital age of communications. He also heard interesting accounts from local vets who fought at Normandy on D-Day or in the Pacific during those final days of the war with Japan.
Local veterans of all ages, and of all time periods, are encouraged to participate. The project will be ongoing. Marino's veterans coordinator Michael Knouse and communications director Renita Fennick are handling the project.
The local response has been good and will grow, said Fennick.
"We have received several requests for participation and are in the process of coordinating appointments to record and videotape these fascinating stories," she said.
"We are doing this at the convenience of the veterans," Marino said. "Veterans may make arrangements to come to one of our offices or we will come to your home or a veterans home to speak with you."
Marino said Fennick and Knouse will record the veterans' accounts and post them on a Veterans History Project channel they will set up on www.youtube.com. They will also file them with the Library of Congress. The entire project will be one at no cost to taxpayers, he said.
Marino will announce when the www.youtube.com channel is ready. Anyone interested in viewing recorded veterans accounts can then visit www.youtube.com or the Library of Congress' website, www.loc.gov/vets. There they can search veterans by conflict and branch of service.
Veterans who want to participate may call any of U.S. Rep. Tom Marino's four offices:
• Washington: (202) 225-3731;
• Tunkhannock: (570) 836-8020;
• Williamsport: (570) 322-3961;
• Sunbury: (570) 988-7801