New Oral History Center at West Point

VFW Magazine, February 2009 | Go to article overview
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New Oral History Center at West Point

West Point is launching its Center for Oral History, an online research forum for gathering first-person accounts from veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, WWII and other campaigns. Personal stories from all ranks are being sought.

Housed at the academy's History Department, the Web site is open to all users. The center's director is Todd Brewster, a former ABC News producer and author. The site can be accessed at

Arlington Adds Space

Arlington National Cemetery opened a ninth outdoor structure for entombing cremated remains in December. The columbarium is six feet tall and close to half a mile long. The outdoor wall will contain some 6,500 remains. It cost $5.6 million to build. About 62% of funerals in the cemetery are now for cremated remains. This vault brings total capacity for cremated remains to 46,000.

Scheduled to occur in 2011, Virginia's Arlington County will exchange a 4.3-acre parcel of land with the federal government, providing up to 3,440 new burial sites in Arlington National Cemetery. An acre can accommodate between 600 and 800 graves.

This move will allow burials to continue on this hallowed ground until 2060. Some 340,000 Americans are currently buried there.

In related news, the Army secretary announced in December that full military honors will be granted to all enlisted soldiers killed in action and slated for burial or inurnment in Arlington beginning Jan. 1, 2009. At least 531 service members killed in Iraq or Afghanistan have been buried, inurned or memorialized in the cemetery.

Veterans Law Clinic

Widener University was the first law school in the U.S. to start a clinical program for disabled veterans. Located on campuses in Wilmington, Del., and Harrisburg, Pa., its Veterans Law Clinic assists with VA compensation claim appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Attorneys and student interns work pro bono. To learn more, visit

Teaching Teens to Fly

Teens-In-Flight, based at Craig Airfield in Jacksonville, Fla., allows selected teenagers the opportunity learn how to fly, earn a private pilot's license and pursue a career in aviation. It is currently expanding to Colorado and Texas and hopefully California and North Carolina.

Fifteen-year-old and older students are eligible if they had a parent killed or severely wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq or the 1991 Persian Gulf War; are "at risk"; or come from low-income families. Children of casualties are the primary focus of the program.

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New Oral History Center at West Point


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