On June 24, Rep. Charles B. Rangel hosted dozens of veterans, including 92-year-old World War II veteran Rembert H. Brown, as they contributed their stories to the Veterans History Project—an initiative of the Library of Congress and American Folklife Center that collects, preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.
“I am extremely grateful for the invaluable work being done by the Veterans History Project, our local volunteers and all of the veterans who have chosen to share their stories today,” said Rangel. “Our volunteers are doing a great service by learning from and preserving the stories of our nation’s veterans. This is also an opportunity for the veterans to ensure permanent archiving of their experience in war.”
Rangel was joined by Dr. Ellen McHale of the New York Folklife Center, who trained 50 local volunteers to be oral historians for the day. After the training, volunteers were matched up with 16 veterans who wished to be interviewed. This was the first Veterans History Project event held in New York’s 13th Congressional District, with more planned in the future.
“New York City is home to almost 200,000 veterans, each with his or her own unique story,” said Rangel. “Our country loses approximately 1,000 World War II veterans daily, along with a growing number of veterans from the Korean War and Vietnam War. Now is the time to reach out to them so we do not forget the sacrifices they made for our great country.”
Rangel, a decorated Korean War veteran with a Purple Heart and Bronze Medal, recorded his own story for the Veterans History Project in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 21. Throughout his service in Congress, Rangel has been one of the staunchest advocates for America’s service men and women—he authored legislation that established the Office of Minority Veterans Affairs and secured the creation of Harlem’s first full-service Veterans Affairs office.
To learn more about participating in the Veterans History Project, please visit their website. In addition, those civilians who were actively involved in supporting war efforts—such as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, Women Army Corps, war industry workers, United Service Organizations workers, flight instructors, medical volunteers, etc.—are also invited to share their valuable stories at subsequent Veterans History Project events hosted by Rangel.