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October 16, 2003
Press Contacts: Anneliesa Clump 202-707-9822 ; Helen Dalrymple, 202-707-1940
Public contact: (888) 371-5848
URL: http://www.loc.gov/vets/

Library of Congress Presents Veterans Day Special on Public Radio

[jump to stations/cities carrying Coming Home]
[jump to transcript of Coming Home program (PDF)]

Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2003) - In honor of Veteran’s Day, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress will present a one-hour special entitled, “Coming Home.” The program, drawn from the oral histories gathered by the American Folklife Center as part of the Veterans History Project, will be aired in early November on many Public Radio International (PRI) affiliate stations.

Featuring stories and voices from the Veterans History Project collection, “Coming Home,” from the series Experiencing War, tells stories of sacrifice, triumph, great expectations and crushing disappointments. Some soldiers return home to ticker-tape parades and bonuses while others are told by their superiors not to wear their uniforms. In addition to their public reception, each soldier must face a personal, private return to their country, community and loved ones.

Host Max Cleland is an American war hero, a former U.S. Senator, and a champion of the human spirit. He is a veteran who lost both legs and his right arm in a grenade blast in Vietnam. “It was a freak accident of war, but that’s war,” says Cleland. He understands first-hand the emotional wounds of war and has become a powerful force in lobbying support for U.S. war veterans and their stories.

“I for one, did not receive the information about losing my first wife,” wrote Corbin Willis, Jr. Captured by the Germans in 1944 on his 22nd bombing mission, he survived two POW camps, cruel interrogation, scabies and crippling weight loss before he was finally liberated. Once on American shore, he immediately phoned his wife… “No such number,” replied the operator.

Veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War and the civilians who supported them are coming forward to record their personal stories for a growing archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The goal of the Veterans History Project is to collect, preserve and share with future generations the stories of all our war veterans and those who served in support of them such as the riveters, cooks and truck drivers.

“Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have a story of service. By participating in the Veterans History Project, they help us preserve an invaluable record for future generations,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, director of the Veterans History Project.

The radio special features commentary by distinguished military and cultural historians who throw the spotlight on the many voices of veterans as they share their personal recollections of very different wars.

“Poignant is the word for these stories. ‘Coming Home’ offers PRI listeners treasures from the Veterans History Project’s outstanding collection and surprises from each new interview we gather,” said Lee Woodman, executive producer of the program.

Check your local listings for the date and time of the airing of “Coming Home”. “Coming Home” is made possible through the support of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Charitable Service Trust. The Veterans History Project’s Web site has digital interviews and wartime memorabilia and tells how others can get involved with the project. To learn more, go to www.loc.gov/vets.

Congress created the project in legislation sponsored by Rep. Ron Kind, Rep. Amo Houghton, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Sen. Max Cleland and Sen. Chuck Hagel. (Rep. Houghton and Senators Cleland and Hagel are featured on the new site.) The project is happening the way Congress envisioned: with grandchildren interviewing grandparents; veterans interviewing each other; and schools that conduct interviews as part of classroom assignments. It is unique in that it is one of the few nationwide oral history efforts relying on volunteers rather than professional oral historians to collect stories and artifacts.

Hundreds of organizations around the country participate in the project. AARP is the founding sponsor.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to e-mail the office at vohp@loc.gov to request a project kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets.

Background on the Voices in “Coming Home”

Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, speaks on how these stories paint moving portraits of America’s memory in times of war. DC

Historian Mike Perry speaks on how the homecomings differ from World War I to Vietnam. PA

Earl Ray Poynter, a World War II veteran, recounts a great reception home and return to civilian life. AR

Trevor Swett, a veteran of multiple wars, speaks about how one fellow got his memory back at a reunion. MD

James Walsh, a Korean veteran, had no reception when he can home from Korea. He left the seminary to join the Army. IN

The following veterans recall memories of the Horrors of War…

Senator Chuck Hagel served in Vietnam with his brother. He speaks about his experience of being blown up on a 500-pound landmine. NE

Andrew Kistler lost his legs during combat but recounts now his admiration for the military’s medical service because he thought he wasn’t going to survive. PA

Jeanne and Brian Markle, Husband and wife team in Vietnam: She cared for wounded soldiers, recounts memories of her flight home with wounded soldiers, and how she couldn't wear her uniform with pride when she came home, pregnant from Vietnam. As his pregnant wife was sent back to America, he had the job of informing families of the death of loved ones. IN

The following veterans – survived war but then needed to find a way to fit in…

Frank Buckles, World War I veteran, went to business school to work at the headquarters. He remembers everything being so expensive. He had no connection with civilian people. WV

Walter Morris, one of the first African-American parachutists in World War II, became a union bricklayer after much tension. FL

Warren Tsuneishi, a Japanese-American and former chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress, was in relocation camp and volunteered for the service in World War II. He recalls the racial prejudice in America and pride he felt for serving his country. MD

The following veterans survived war and were left with its aftereffects…

Alvin Dickson had nightmares and was very restless. He lost a job because of it. He explains some of the mental problems associated with memories of combat. OH

The following veterans describe how war affects the families…

Tomika Dale, a Persian Gulf veteran, learned about her six-month old son through letters. When she came home it took her son two weeks to get used to his mother again. CA

Marion Gurfein described what it was like to be a “War Wife.” She recalls anxiously waiting for her husband to return and the experience when Joe came home and saw his daughter for the first time. Over the course of three years, she and her husband exchanged many letters. VA

Corbin Willis, POW in World War II, returned home to find his wife remarried. OR

Everett Woodman, World War II veteran, went into Omaha Beach on D-Day. NH

Ruthie Woodman, Everett’s wife, shares her memories about getting mail. NH

The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world.

Public Radio International® PRI is the Minneapolis-based public radio network and audio publisher that supports and distributes programs, many of which are created by leading national producers and are broadcast by its 744 public radio station affiliates. PRI programming also is available on locally-branded public radio station websites, internationally through the World Radio Network, and nationwide via Sirius Satellite Radio.

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Stations/Cities carrying the Coming Home program

List updated 11/10/2003

Station City
KBMC-FM Bozeman, MT
KBUW-FM Buffalo, WY
KCUR-FM Kansas City, MO
KDUW-FM Douglas, WY
KECC-FM Miles City, MT
KEMC-FM Billings, MT
KGOU-FM Norman, OK
WLIU-FM Southampton, NY
KKTO-FN Tahoe City, CA
KROU-FM Oklahoma City, OK
KSUW-FM Sheridan, WY
KUPO-FM Stockton, CA
KUOW-FM Seattle, WA
KUWC-FM Casper, WY
KUWD-FM Sundance, WY
KUWG-FM Gillette, WY
KUWJ-FM Jackson, WY
KUWN-FM Newcastle, WY
KUWP-FM Cody/Powell, WY
KUWR-FM Laramie, WY
KUWT-FM Thermopolis, WY
KUWX-FM Pinedale, WY
KUWZ-FM Rock Springs, WY
WNAN-FM Nantucket, MA
KXJZ-FM Sacramento, CA
WNED-AM Buffalo, NY
KYPR-FM Gillette, WY
WABE-FM Atlanta, GA
WNMU-FM Marquette, MI
WRQM-FM Rocky Mount, NC
WAMU-FM Washington, DC
WUNC-FM Chapel Hill, NC
WUND-FM Elizabeth City, ND
WBEW-FM Chesterton, IL
WUOT-FM Knoxville, TN
WURI-FM Elizabeth City, NC
WBEZ-FM Chicago, IL
WVIA-FM Scranton, PA
WBUX-FM Buxton, NC
WCAI-FM Woods Hole, MA
WVXA-FM Rogers City, MI
WCPN-FM Cleveland, OH
WVXC-FM Chillicothe, OH
WCQS-FM Asheville, NC
WVXG-FM Mt. Gilead, OH
WCWP-FM Brookville, NY
WVXH-FM Harrison, MI
WFDD-FM Winston-Salem, NC
WVXI-FM Crawfordsville, IN
WFQS-FM Franklin, NC
WVXM-FM Manistee, MI
WFYI-FM Indianapolis, IN
WVXR-FM Richmond, IN
WGBH-FM Boston, MA
WVXU-FM Cincinnati, OH
WHRV-FM Norfolk, VA
WHYY-FM Philadelphia, PA
WVXW-FM West Union, OH
WKNA-FM Memphis, TN (Senatobia, MS)
WVYA-FM Williamsport, PA
WKNO-FM Memphis, TN
WXEL-FM West Palm Beach, FL
WKNP-FM Jackson, TN
WXXI-AM Rochester, NY
WKNQ-FM Dyersburg, TN
WYSO-FM Yellow Springs/Dayton, OH

Transcript of Coming Home Program

This transcript contains the full text of the Coming Home radio program. It is presented here in PDF format, and requires the free Acrobat Reader software. The transcript is 25 pages long and the file size is 67.9 KB.

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