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War is hell.” 
General William Tecumseh Sherman

From the Civil War to the present military conflicts, war continues to be hell both on those who take part, and those who support them.  Whether we are defending our country or fighting on behalf of others, there is always a price to pay. 

The Library of Congress is archiving first-hand accounts of American war veterans and civilian workers who support them via The Veterans History Project.  From World War I to the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, these stories provide a valuable resource to researchers, students and teachers.  The Project also collects original memoirs, military documents, collections of letters, and original photographs and artwork. 

Do you know someone who has served on behalf of the United States and would like to contribute to the Project?

Visit and you can download The Veterans History Project Field Kit, which includes interview tips and resources, and tips for veterans who are telling the story themselves.

Who will you be honoring this Veteran’s Day?

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“I don’t like that man.  I must get to know him better.”  Abraham Lincoln

In 1923, Robert Todd Lincoln (Abraham’s son) donated his father’s papers to the Library of Congress.  This year, in celebration of the 200th anniversary of President Lincoln’s birth, the Library of Congress is sharing some of those papers and personal items of the President with the country via a traveling exhibition.

We, as a country, are fortunate, indeed, that we are able to understand a former president – centuries before our time – in very personal ways due to the preservation of his writings.  His personality and thought processes are revealed in intimate ways through letters with peers, friends and his wife.  We can more fully appreciate what inner battles he faced when dealing with unfathomable adversity and conflicts, and yet continued to follow his passion in pursuing freedom for all.

He was very articulate, possessed a great writing prowess, could be very direct, had a great sense of humor, and the persuasive gift of reason (for those who were willing to listen).

On the day of his assassination, President Lincoln told his wife that he wanted to visit the Holy Land, Europe and California.  It is only fitting that California was one of the few states chosen for the Lincoln Exhibit to be viewed.  (As I reside in California, I am a little biased.)  I can’t help wonder, though, if he had lived, what impacts his visit on the West Coast might have had on its residents.

If you could go back in time, what question would you like to ask President Lincoln?

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