Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans History Project

PFC Tommy Tucker Showalter
US Army, WWII European Theater
In 2000, the United States Congress created and funded the Veterans History Project under the auspices of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. The mission of the project is to collect first-hand accounts of U.S. veterans who have served in WWI thru the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Participants are those who served on the frontline and those civilians who worked war industries and volunteered at the USO. Spotlighted stories have included women veterans, the Buffalo Soldiers, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, the Southeast Asia campaign, and tactics used in the War on Terrorism. The website is www.loc/gov/vets. To recognize the 5,000 residents of Rockingham County who served in WWII and the numerous other local veterans of the Korean War, The Viet Nam War and Desert Storm, the Massanutten Regional Library is a project participant.

One book recently added to the Main Library’s Veterans History Project collection in the Genealogy Room is PFC Tommy Tucker Showalter, European Theater, WW II. In 1943, at the age of 19, Tommy joined the Army and was assigned to the 328th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Division. This Division landed in Normandy on September 7, 1944 and fought across Europe reaching Czechoslovakia by the War’s end. During his service Tommy received, among other awards, the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Among the papers and information that Tommy contributed to the Project were pictures, letters home, a regimental history with maps, and discharge and Veterans Administration documents.

November 11, Veterans Day, was originally designated as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of the “War to End All Wars,” which is now known as WW I. Although President Wilson recognized the day in 1919, it was not made a national holiday by Congress until 1938. After WW II, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day and in 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill designating November 11th as Veterans Day.

The Massanutten Regional Library system would like to thank all of our local veterans for their service. To listen to their stories or read their books, visit the Genealogy Room at the Main Library.

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