Lenoir Community College will become a participant in the Veteran’s History Project (VHP) this summer by offering an opportunity to all World War II veterans to be interviewed about their experiences during that war.
The VHP was created by an act of Congress, authorizing the Library of Congress to collect audio and videotapes from veterans of all US wars as part of a permanent collection. The focus thus far has been on WWII vets as they are by far the oldest American service vets and their story is important to record.
Dr. Michael Taylor, retired president of Stanly Community College (SCC) in Albemarle, will conduct the LCC interviews. Dr. Taylor is a South Lenoir High School and LCC alumni who worked at the college during the 1980s. During his tenure at SCC, Dr. Taylor conducted more than 60 interviews of veterans and SCC collected a library of more than 80 WWII vets for its campus collection.
“The voice of the WWII veteran is important to collect and one day, in the not too distant future unfortunately, that voice will go silent forever. What the VHP hopes to do is collect as many different tapes of WWII vets as possible to offer a permanent collection for future generations,” Dr. Taylor said. “We are not looking for tales of heroism, although they are welcome. During my experience at SCC conducting these interviews almost every veteran walked in said, I am not a hero, why are you talking to me?
“What we want to collect are the experiences of the WWII vet and their day-to-day activities, etc. This is just a 30 minute conversation with WWII vets about what they saw and felt during this most difficult yet important time in our history,” Dr. Taylor explained.
Veterans who are interviewed will be given a CD copy of their interview. There are a few papers to complete and file and then the recording is shipped to the Library of Congress where it will be filed for online reference. LCC will start its own WWII veterans interview collection as well.
LCC President Dr. Brantley Briley said this was an opportunity to capture the voices of the community’s WWII veterans. “The College welcomes the chance to bring this history to life and the collection can be shared with generations to come.”
Interviews will be conducted at the College. “This is not really an interview but a conversation about what the veterans remember about their war experiences,” Dr. Taylor said. “Where were they when they learned Pearl Harbor had been bombed? What were their first thoughts? What were they doing prior to going into the armed services? What branch of the service did they serve in and why? We will give each veteran who wants to be interviewed a copy of the questions we will ask,” Dr. Taylor explained.
Another important fact to remember about these interviews, they are of all veterans who served during the WWII years (1941- 1945) either at home or overseas.
Persons interested in participating in an interview for the history project should contact LCC Marketing Assistant Jimmy Taylor at 252 527-6223, ext. 313 to schedule an appointment or for more information.