WASHINGTON (AP) - The Veterans History Project wants families to spend some time on Memorial Day recording their veteran's story.
The project's director, retired Army Colonel Bob Patrick, says there are already some 50,000 stories in the archives, but more are needed. Patrick notes that World War Two veterans are dying at a rate of about a thousand a day. He says, "we're losing this collected memory of the most cataclysmic event in world history."
The memoirs of some of those who served from World War One through the Iraq War are on the project's Web site. And some of the recollections are graphic. Korean War veteran Paul Alexander Steppe Junior says simply: "The smell of the bodies stays with you forever."
Former Army nurse Jeanne Markle says the young soldiers she was treating in Vietnam were "just as scared as I was."
Patrick says the Veterans History Project is designed to find out "what war was like for someone in a foxhole, in a cockpit, in a mess tent, in a hospital."