A video history project that first started with a series of interviews of World War II veterans from Delaware is now going national. However, this time the focus is on Vietnam Veterans across the country.
The Wilmington-based project is called Voices of War Vietnam, where a collection of 3-thousand interviews are expected for archiving by 2017.
“Vietnam veterans are everywhere, but many of them are pretty quiet about it and a lot of these stories would go untold even to their closet family members if not for the telling within the scope of our project” said Amy Vanneman of the Voices of War Vietnam project.
While so many veterans hesitate to talk about the war, Vanneman says once they get going, veterans often share very compelling stories. One story that stands out is from a soldier who believes a tree falling on him is what saved his life.
“His story is dramatic. A lot of it is the tree falling on him and him waiting. He describes six North Vietnamese walking toward him and they’re looking and putting a bullet in anybody they think is remotely alive, but because the tree was on top of him they didn’t see him and they kept going,” said Vanneman.
While the goal is to collect as many interviews from veterans and their families over the next four years, before hitting the road to travel cross country, producers are first staying local.
“Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey really are a concentrated area for us. We’re going to be interviewing more veterans in the tri-state area than anywhere else because it’s our home base,” said Vanneman.
The video content will be a part of multiple state archives and the new education center in Washington D.C that’s being built thanks to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
“It’s an important collection because it is for the benefit of educators and students all across the country. This will be an invaluable resource available for free in the Library of Congress as part of the veterans history project,” said Vanneman.
The budget for the project is expected to run at least $2 million so donations are very much needed. For more information, you can visit the Voices of War Vietnam website to see how you can get involved in the project by either donating or referring a Vietnam veteran. Fundraising efforts to purchase mobile equipment to travel cross country are currently underway.
“We’re listening now as a nation the way we should’ve listened in 1975,” said Vanneman.