American Village gives voice to veterans


As I’ve been working on a story about an upcoming digital database, sponsored by American Village, that will allow veterans to share their stories worldwide once it is launched, I’ve been thinking a lot about my great-uncle Charles, a Korean War veteran and a surviving prisoner of war.

For my article, I had the pleasure of speaking to Vietnam helicopter pilot Loren McAnally, and during our conversation he said something that really struck me.

“I know some veterans who have problems telling their own families (about their service),” McAnally said. “It’s sometimes easier to tell someone else or write it down.”

My Uncle Charles is one of these very veterans. I have never heard him talk about his service, and neither has my Grandma, his sister. All I know is that he got captured on Christmas day and was released little more than six months later.

I used to think he was one of few who refused to talk about his experience; after talking to McAnally, I realize Uncle Charles is one of many.

What excites me about this new project by American Village, called the Veterans Register of Honor, is the fact that, through pictures, videos, words or other media, veterans will have the opportunity to tell their stories in a comfortable arena, and these stories can then be shared with anyone who comes to American Village or visits the website once the database is up and running.

My hope is that family members of veterans, like myself, will encourage their loved ones to submit stories. Not only will it give those long pent-up stories an outlet, but it will also help teach history.

As McAnally says, “It’s just important to keep the legacy going.”

Be on the lookout soon for an article about how to submit to the Veterans Register of Honor, which will launch in September.