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WVU Students Promote West Virginia History

Contact: Joel Beeson- 293-3505 x 5422

When Adam Webster, a West Virginia University School of Journalism graduate student registered for classes, he had no clue that his coursework would provide insight into his own family's history. As part of his requirements for Veteran's Project Oral Histories, Webster is collecting interviews for the Veteran's History Project.

"This experience was an awakening for me. While talking to my Dad about this project, I learned more about his military experiences than I ever had in all my years of growing up," said Webster.

"Experiences like Adam Webster's are exactly what this project is all about," said Christine Martin, dean of the WVU School of Journalism.

"The West Virginia Veteran's Oral History Project is helping West Virginians find a way to preserve their precious legacy of service," said Martin. "The stories of those who fought, struggled and worked for freedom during America's wars are stories worth telling and stories worth keeping. The project will offer people across West Virginia the opportunity to record and keep the histories of those who served."

The West Virginia Veteran's Oral History Project is part of the National Veteran's History Project designed to preserve the real-life experiences of American veterans who were involved in World War I, World War II, the Korean, the Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars. Accounts from both civilians and military personnel who were affiliated with the wars will provide relevant information from those who experienced the conflicts first-hand. Once complete, the West Virginia oral histories will be combined with those from across the country and the combined artifacts will be available for use by all Americans, including students, teachers, researchers and other veterans.

West Virginia is home to 202,000 veterans, the highest per capita number of any state. West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd approached WVU President David Hardesty in 2001 and asked the school to take a leadership role in the project. Hardesty soon turned to the Journalism School to conduct interviews and collect the oral histories.

In "Veteran's Project Oral Histories" class, students are completing the oral histories that will then be developed into a short documentary to be aired on public television on Veteran's Day. Another class is also working to produce and promote a special Veteran's Day event designed to recognize and reward those veterans who have been involved in the project.

For more information on the project, visit http://veteranshistory.wvu.edu or contact Joel Beeson at the WVU School of Journalism at 293-5404 x 5422.

Gulf War Friends