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Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project

What is community? In the context of war, having a sense of community can mean identifying with a specific military division, or bringing honor to one's home town, or sharing recreation and special treats with fellow soldiers. Our veterans' collections fill us with reminders of all the shades and colors of community. Whether in the all-out effort of battle or in the small helpful gestures of everyday life, those who EXPERIENCED war also experienced the many nuances and rewards of cooperation with other human beings.

Featured Story: John Walter Earle
Image of John Walter Earle

"...function of the Special Service is to relieve the soldiers' mind of stress..."

John Walter Earle regales us with accounts of his four years as Special Services Officer in the 14th Infantry, 71st Division of the Army. Whether stationed in California, Panama, or Europe, it was his responsibility to provide entertainment for the troops. He went to great lengths to make every soldier’s life better -- sometimes by delivering a single cigarette to the foxhole, sometimes by orchestrating a memorable night of dancing in the mess hall. His love for the soldiers and his tireless efforts to please them come roaring through in his letters, charts, financial accounts, and Army news bulletins.

John Walter Earle's StoryGo and experience
John Walter Earle's story
Experience more Stories of Community more stories
"...the only ones among you who will really be happy are those who will have sought and found a way to serve..."      -- Albert Schweitzer
Image of Ben Snyder

"...I'm wondering if you will find me changed..."

Ben M. Snyder's story

Image of drawing by Sally Pullman

"...That evening I decided to edit the box of letters..."

Sally Hitchcock Pullman's story

Image of Patricia Seawalt

"...My prayers are with my fellow brothers and sisters..."

Patricia Seawalt's story

Image of John Caspar Wister

"...I did not like the army. I never met a soldier who did..."

John Caspar Wister's story

Image of a letter and photo for Patricia Lala

"...Some of the recipients shared my letters and address..."

Patricia Lala's story

Image of Amo Houghton

"...The morale of the freshmen was terrific..."

Rep. Amory Houghton Jr.'s story


"...Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others..."
            -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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  The Library of Congress
  February 18, 2004
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