Memorial Day weekend is perfect for story time.
Families and friends gather this weekend. Memorial Day events, plus barbecues, picnics, and other special events are celebrated on this three-day weekend.
All of these activities make a prime opportunity for story time. Take your tape recorder, camera, or video recorder. Take your notebook and pen or pencil. Jot down a few questions. Get ready to record.
One of my favorite memories of family gatherings were the opportunities to hear the stories. Stories bring healing. They give us a sense of place and purpose. They can uncover misunderstandings and lead to healthy understanding. They can destroy the pain of secrets.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I never knew that.”? Or “I wish I’d known.”
Or, how about this one? “If only we’d asked Grandpa. But now he’s gone, and we’ll never know the answer.”
For veterans and families alike, stories bring value to our lives and our histories. If you are a veteran or have one in your life, check out the Veteran History Project through the Library of Congress. I am inspired by quotes from participants:
“If we don’t tell our story, then nobody will know what transpired.”
– Korean War Veteran
“I cannot express how enlightening and interesting this project has been. From these people, I have learned a great deal about courage, endurance, and patriotism that I have not, and could not have, found in my own generation.”
– Eagle Scout
Veteran History Project
The project accepts audio, video-recorded interviews, unpublished memoirs and collections of other historical items from WW I through present conflicts.
- Check their main site for details: https://www.loc.gov/vets/
- Project field kit contains sample interview questions: https://www.loc.gov/vets/kitmenu.html
- Please do NOT disclose private information such as home addresses, military serial numbers, or Social Security numbers.
- VHP staff enter details about the veteran and materials into a database creating an online record for the veteran. Search the database https://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/html/search/search.html
Family History Interviews
Conduct an interview of your family members. Collect family history.
- Make your own list of things you’d like to know.
Start with, what you know. List the questions that arise from that. Keep going.
- Ask other family members to include their questions.
- Evalogue.life offers free interview questions if you need more help https://evalogue.life/tools-and-resources/oral-history-interview-questions-and-resources/great-interview-questions/
Make time this weekend for the stories.
Many wish they had before it was too late.
What are some of your family stories? Or veteran stories? Tell me about them in the comments below.
Until next time . . . Travel Light,
© 2021 SuZan Klassen. All Rights Reserved.