For Your Benefit
For and about Hawaii's military Sunday, July 28, 2002

See also: In The Military

History project preserves
veterans’ accounts of war

Question: I heard about the Veterans History Project from a fellow veteran. What is it and is the Department of Veterans Affairs is involved?

Answer: Congress voted to create the Veterans History Project as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress on Oct. 27, 2000, recognizing the urgency of collecting wartime memories, which become more precious as the number of veterans dwindles by 1,500 every day. Its mission is to collect the memories, accounts, and documents of war veterans from World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Persian Golf Wars and to preserve these stories of experience and service for future generations. Oral histories and documents collected through this project will be part of the national Veterans History Project Collection at the Library of Congress and other recognized repositories.

Veterans History Project Partners, the library and the Folklife Center collaborate to publicize and implement the project. Partners might include veterans service organizations, military installations, schools, colleges and universities, and civic organizations. The VA has been accepted as a partner and is working closely with other individuals and organizations to collect oral histories. More partners are needed. If individuals or groups are interested in preserving the history of our veterans, call 433-0049. You can also learn more about the project and how to become a partner at

Q: I used to know the VA as Veterans Administration. When did it change to Veterans Affairs?

A: The VA changed its name to Veterans Affairs 13 years ago, on March 15, 1989, when it officially became a Cabinet-level department.

The VA switched from being the federal government's largest independent agency to the second-largest Cabinet-level department.

VA roots go back to July 21, 1930, when it was formed from three other federal agencies. Some roots go back to colonial days, when people took it upon themselves to care for disabled militia members. As the VA enters its 14th year as a department, VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi reiterated his three highest priorities: improving the timeliness and accuracy of claims processing, ensuring that veterans receive the high-quality health care and meeting the burial needs of veterans in cemeteries that are truly national shrines. This year, VA expects to provide medical care to 4.9 million patients in 43 million outpatient visits and 600,000 hospitalizations. More than 2.3 million veterans will receive disability compensation or pensions from VA. Nearly 60,000 will be buried in VA-run national cemeteries, while about 350,000 will receive headstones or markers from VA.

If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran,
call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.

Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin,
can be reached by phone at 294-4075
or by e-mail at

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