Center Seeks Veterans Letters For Preservation

Nov 8, 2018

WWII Letter with bullet hole.
Credit Courtesy: warletters.us

WAR LETTERS - Sunday, November 11th is Veterans Day…it is a federal holiday that was established  to honor all those who served in the U.S. Military.  Many veterans who have passed away are remembered through the letters they sent home to family and friends while they were away serving our country.  Too often these letters have wound up stored away in Attics, basements,  or storage units to be forgotten and eventually discarded.    Our Longview, Texas reporter Gary Borders shares a story about an effort to gather these letters and preserve them as part of a unique historical record. 

Andrew Carroll for two decades has been on a mission to preserve and collect those letters. Carroll is director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University in California. He has visited all 50 states and several countries in his quest, including in Longview last July.

Our whole mission is to seek out and preserve war letters from every American conflict going back to the Revolution all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan and any future conflicts,” Carroll said.

A famed advice columnist kick-started Carroll’s efforts:

Andrew Carroll, director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University in California
Credit Courtesy: warletters.us

“So back in November of 1998 — I’ve been doing this pretty much exactly for 20 years ," Carol explains. "Dear Abby wrote a column about what I then called the Legacy Project (And we since renamed it), just encouraging Americans if they had a letter to send it into our post office box,” Carroll said. “And when that column ran, I was inundated with thousands and then tens of thousands of war letters that people were sharing. And so Dear Abby really kicked off this project.”

For more information on how to donate and thus preserve letters both from and to those who served, go to the website  warletters.us.

Reporting for Red River Radio News, this is Gary Borders.