Special Collections Feature the Experiences of Ohio Vietnam Veterans

web_CantignyOhio will celebrate Vietnam Veteran’s Day for the first time this year, after Governor John Kasich signed the day into law last year. This year, the Ohio History Center in Columbus will host a traveling version of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, known as The Wall that Heals from March 26th through the 29th.

In 2009, the staff of the Libraries’ Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections participated in the second phase of the Cantigny 1st Division Oral History project. The division is the first and largest division in the U.S. Army, having been established in 1917. The First Division Museum, supporter of the project, has a history of the division on their website.

The goal of the ongoing project is to collect the experiences of members of U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division. Curator of Manuscripts Doug McCabe worked on the project with a number of Ohio University students who learned how to conduct oral history interviews.

According to McCabe, the diversity of project participants emphasizes the wide range of ordinary infantry members who served in a variety of positions within the infantry, including combat veterans, a chaplain and a musician.

The Ohio University Libraries interviews are available online via the Digital Initiatives website. Eight of the participants are veterans of the Vietnam War. Digital Initiatives student Matt Wesley compiled a sample of the interviews into a YouTube video. You can also find the interviews and related information on a Pinterest board by Digital Initiatives.