Image: John Buescher, center with boa constrictor, served as a sergeant in
We are conducting military interviews at the KHS now through the end of the year, if you haven't heard.
Being entrenched in the coordination of these interviews, a few things have stuck in my mind relating to people's perceptions of what we are looking for. For starters, I get a lot of calls that start out, "I know who you should talk to..." which is interesting to me when this is coming from another veteran. Get ready if you call me with this because my answer will be, "We would love to talk to so and so, but how about you come in for an interview as well."
We are interested in the good and the bad experiences, the neutral and the passionate stories, as well as the mundane and the exciting tasks. I have an example of this in mind from two interviews we have recently conducted with Vietnam veterans.
One veteran, George Hanrahan, came to us a few months ago and the first thing he said to me was, "You don't want to hear my story, I am still disgruntled about the war and didn't want to be there."
Of course we did, because this is a story that is not often volunteered for community projects such as ours.
As a Navy Corpsman enlisted in 1972, who was eventually assigned to a Tennessee military hospital, he entered the military toward the end of the conflict and saw low morale within the ranks and with the US public, and didn't necessarily disagree.
In comparison with this experience, I recently received a call from a different Vietnam Veteran,Ron Wallace,who wanted to share his experience as 19 year-old a radio operator on the front lines. He has faced a lot of challenges since returning home from Vietnam,including battling PTSD.
A comment I received from him was, "You probably don't want to hear this because I still heartily support what we were doing in Vietnam.
And yes, we really wanted to record his viewpoint! The after-effects of his experience in Vietnam have shaped his life. We want to know how and why and what his experience has been.
It is important for us to understand this part of life, community and history--and not just the action packed combat stories. It is good to understand what it is like to work for the draft board or as an engineer. It is important for us to record the stories of what it is like as a spouse in the military, moving around, home alone to run the household during times of deployment. We need the complete story to understand the whole experience.
SO, if you have a military story to share--whatever side of the story that may be--CONTACT ME and reserve a time to share. Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-564-1792 ext 4434.
And THANK YOU wholeheartedly to those of you who have shared. We are appreciative of your time and your willingness to share your life with us. Listen to interviews with Vietnam veterans from the KHS collection online through the KHS Digital Catalog
Ron Wallace ®