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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Sharing Stories of Service

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From the office of US Senator John Boozman

The service and sacrifice of Arkansans called to wear our nation’s uniform are woven into the fabric of our communities. Long after men and women leave active duty, their commitment to others continues. I’m proud to share the stories of these individuals and their desire to serve for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP).

In 1974, Debra Holmes enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve as an air traffic controller during the tumultuous years following the Vietnam War. A decade later, Ken Griffin was training to become a fighter pilot in U.S. Air Force and 30 years after Holmes’ first day, Chris Traxson joined the U.S. Marine Corps to become a heavy weapons specialist and serve in Iraq.

Their experiences will be soon be part of the VHP, a collection of oral histories of the men and women who served our nation in every branch of the military.

While their jobs, locations and personal experiences were completely different, each veteran made many of the same observations and shared similar feelings about their commitment to serving others, their love for our country and the satisfaction of knowing they made a difference. 

They also spoke about the skills they learned through military service that helped shape their lives. These included the value of discipline, the ability to work as a team for a common goal and how to be a leader in whatever role you are given.

As we approach Independence Day, these stories are on my mind. They speak to the desire to make a difference and the best of the human spirit that citizen-soldiers have demonstrated long before the founding of our country. I am grateful for the service of these Arkansans and the important work of the Library of Congress to preserve their experiences for future generations. The VHP is the largest repository of oral histories by American veterans and, as many Arkansans know from my monthly Salute to Veterans feature, the project is important to me and my staff. In addition to regularly traveling across the state to interview veterans from every branch of the military and every era of service, we’ve trained others to join this initiative.

In recent months, we have interviewed veterans who served in the Vietnam War-era to the War on Terror. Each one of them told a unique story about where they came from, how they ended up in the military, how they served and what happened next.

Threads of patriotism and sacrifice are united through each of their stories as they described their lives both before and after their military service. In most cases, they took what they learned and found new ways to make a difference in their communities. Whether working in a government agency, as a chaplain or in roles directly helping other veterans, they continue their mission of service.

If you are a veteran or have a veteran in your life who would like to participate, please reach out to my office. We are happy to provide more information. The Library of Congress has more details about this important national project atwww.loc.gov. Learn more about the Arkansans we’ve highlighted in our Salute to Veterans feature on my website to see examples of interviews we’ve been honored to conduct and share.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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