The recording sessions are part of the Take a Veteran to School Day program supported by Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The third annual event, which runs from Nov. 8-17, links veterans and students in high schools throughout the state and gives veterans a chance to share their experiences with a younger generation.
“The program recognizes and thanks veterans for their service, bravery and sacrifice to our great nation,” Rockefeller said. “It allows them the opportunity to share their real-life stories with students and create moments that these young men and women will never forget.”
The Take a Veteran to School Day program has expanded to include 18 schools this year. The School of Journalism’s public relations student team will visit 12 of those schools in the northern part of the state and lead efforts to interview participating veterans about their wartime experiences for official submission to the Library of Congress. The students also will assist in capturing and documenting each event through still photography and video.
Public relations senior Rachel Taylor, a native of Ripley, W.Va., is organizing the 18-member team from the School. She said working on this project has been an eye-opener for her.
“I never realized how many veterans there are in my community,” said Taylor. “I think people tend to get caught up in their everyday lives and they don’t pay attention or they forget. This program is a remarkable opportunity for people to pause and think about what others have sacrificed so that we can go about our daily lives without fear.”
Out of 178,000 West Virginia veterans, fewer than 500 have had their stories archived in the Library of Congress. Through West Virginia’s Take a Veteran to School Day program, more than 35 could be added to the archives this year alone.
Since 2003, the WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism has played an integral role in collecting the stories of West Virginia’s veterans for the Library of Congress American Folklife Center Veterans History Project.
School of Journalism students and faculty have recorded oral histories and collected photographs and other archival materials for submission to the national archive and have trained civic and community groups in the recording and submission process as well. Efforts spearheaded by the School of Journalism have led to the submission of more than 200 West Virginia veterans’ histories to the national project.
The Take a Veteran to School Day program is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, as well as the West Virginia Legislature that passed resolutions in 2008 encouraging West Virginia educators to participate in future Take a Veteran to School Day initiatives. The program’s return to West Virginia schools is made possible by the West Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association and its member companies, Suddenlink Communications, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Armstrong and Shentel, and the HISTORY channel, who created the national initiative.
To learn more about West Virginia’s Take a Veteran to School Day program and to view photos from events, visit http://www.veteransinwv.com.
CONTACT: Kimberly Brown, School of Journalism
304-293-3505 ext. 5403
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