Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Veterans Project Preserves the Glory; the Veterans History Project Will Hold onto Stories Big and Small

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Veterans Project Preserves the Glory; the Veterans History Project Will Hold onto Stories Big and Small

Article excerpt

Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS

War stories, explained retired Army Col. Bob Patrick, aren't just about the action of war. They're also about the boredom and mundanity, the time spent waiting in trenches and hanging around the mess hall.

Those moments, both big and small, are the type Patrick's organization - the Veterans History Project - and Community Hospice of Northeast Florida hope to capture as they begin recording the memories of veterans in the area.

"Oral history is about memory," Patrick said Friday. "What did it make you feel like? What did it mean to you?"

Patrick will officially unveil the program at noon today at the Family Art Fest and Salute to the Troops being held at the Midtown Centre office park. The First Coast program will focus on memorializing local veterans in partnership with the Library of Congress' national program, which collects memories from veterans across the country dating back to World War I.

The free fest, which will include displays of military hardware, including a Chinook helicopter, will run through the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday between Art Museum Drive and Beach Boulevard.

The Salute to the Troops is an appropriate place to kick off the project as the team looks to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of veterans in the area, said Toula Wootan, director of community relations for Community Hospice.

Community Hospice hooked up with the Library of Congress program when the hospice organization started looking for a way of showing veterans they are appreciated.

"Our goal is to reach the veterans in the area, but I want to go upstream," Wootan said. "I want to honor and recognize them before they need hospice care."

About a quarter of the hospice's 900-or-so patients are veterans, and the history project will start with taking down their histories. …

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