The Veterans History Project (VHP) is an oral history program that collects and preserves the firsthand interviews of America’s wartime veterans. Keshav led a project that involved interviewing 9 veterans based on guidelines set by the beneficiary, the Library of Congress. Each interview was about 30 min long. Keshav submitted to the beneficiary audio/video recordings of these interviews, which are now part of the permanent collections of the Library of Congress. The beneficiary considered this an ideal opportunity for a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Project.
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Researchers and the general public use VHP collections for a wide variety of projects and purposes, including academic papers and scholarship, documentaries, genealogy research and personal interest. Some collections are also used by the Library of Congress in presentations, exhibitions, publications and events to promote the Veterans History Project. Veterans’ family members also treasure the memories that are permanently preserved at the Library of Congress for future generations.
Highlight of the Project
Keshav has a passion for history and he took the opportunity to further his learning of this subject when he started working on his Eagle Project. He wanted to do something that he genuinely cared about, so he selected the “Veterans’ History Project”, a program run through the Library of Congress that collects and preserves the firsthand accounts of those who served in that nation’s military. He interviewed nine veterans from conflicts ranging from Vietnam to Afghanistan and sent those interviews back to the Library of Congress, thus helping to permanently preserve the memories of their service to the nation.
Speaking to these men and women was a truly eye opening experience for Keshav. Growing up in a place as liberal as the Bay Area, it was sometimes easy to make assumptions about military action in controversial conflicts. The Veterans’ stories showed him that service was distinct from political intent. These were normal people who were following orders. One interviewee had even taken part in anti-Vietnam protests before he was drafted, but served admirably. This project was a powerful reminder for Keshav that there were multiple sides to every story. After his interactions with the men and women veterans from World War II onwards, he learnt a great deal about courage, leadership and honorable service This opportunity to interact with people whom he could look up to as role models, who were outside of his regular community, has been a great gift to him.