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UF Records War Stories, Especially From World War II Veterans

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The University of Florida is looking to document veterans’ war stories that have long remained only in the veteran’s mind.

Jim Lynch, former director of Alachua County Office of Veteran Services and a Vietnam veteran, said many families don’t know about their relatives’ military service.

According to Lynch, these veterans, particularly from World Ward II, came back from serving overseas in Europe and the Pacific started having families and working immediately.

“I’ve heard on so many occasions that the surviving family members never even heard their fathers earned certain medals or recognized for bravery,” Lynch said.

The UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is looking to change this. Anna Jimenez, project coordinator, said the Veterans History Project is recording interviews with World War II veterans.

“It’s very different from every other kind of history because we’re showing an individual history through anecdotes of war,” Jimenez said. “It’s personal history which makes it a lot more personal and deep to learn about.”

The stories will be added to an ongoing project of the Library of Congress since 2000. Lynch says he is promoting the project locally to get as many veterans involved as possible.

“I think the next step is to make sure that every veteran is aware of this project, give them the opportunity to make sure their history is recorded and my understanding is that they don’t have to necessarily come down to the studio, a representative will come to them,” said Lynch

With these veterans aging, World War Two Veteran Bob Gashe said it’s critical now more than ever to record their stories

“It’s so important to do it now, before they are no longer with us because for many of them if they pass away, and they do, there is no record of what they have done to help preserve our nation,” said Gashe.

Veterans looking to have their story recorded can contact the Oral History
Program to set up an interview.

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