From a park picnic table in Wheaton, Illinois,at the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans, George Martin talks about his 20 years of service in the U.S. Army. More than 1,000 miles away in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, George Pelati, a flight engineer during World War II, tells stories surrounded by family in his home.
They are among the first veterans to contribute oral histories to the Veterans History Project using an app that enables participants to enter biographical detail, select questions, record, tag highlights and upload a finished interview—all on a smartphone.
The user-friendly tool that created these records of service is the result of a four-year passion project by two sisters from Massachusetts. Congress created the Veterans History Project to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of America’s war veterans. And collect it has, more than 100,000 veterans’ stories since 2000. But the collection is poised to take a big leap forward thanks to the remarkable efforts of Jean Rhodes and Nancy McNamara.