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Article posted: 8/27/2013 12:09 PM

Veterans asked to share stories for Library of Congress project


Various partners of the Lake County legal community will again work with the Library of Congress on its Veterans' History Project, 19th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Fred Foreman said.

On Veterans Day morning, Monday, Nov. 11, war veterans are invited to come to the Lake County courthouse in Waukegan to have their oral histories recorded by official court reporters who will produce transcripts of their interviews. The typed transcripts will be archived at the Library of Congress.

Lake County's first participation in this program in October 2012 was a moving and inspirational experience for all who attended. It is anticipated the Lake County program will become an annual event.

The Library of Congress-sponsored project collects firsthand accounts of veterans from World War II (1939-46), the Korean War (1950-55), the Vietnam War (1961-75), the Persian Gulf War (1990-95) and the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts (2001-present), as well as personal items such as photographs, diaries, letters, etc. of the veterans, if they so choose.

Civilians who were actively involved in supporting war efforts (war industry workers, such as "Rosie the Riveter," USO workers, civilian flight instructors and pilots, medical personnel, etc.) are also invited to share their valuable stories.

Carol Cord, a member of the Court's Administration Office, is the main contact. She can be reached at (847) 377-3771. She is the mother of two war veterans of the recent conflicts in the Middle East. She will coordinate the volunteers, veterans and courthouse personnel.

Any veteran interested in being interviewed or anyone interested in volunteering to assist in this project should contact Cord by Tuesday, Oct. 1.

The program will also use volunteers from the state's attorney and public defender's offices to conduct the oral interviews of the war veterans and the civilians who supported the war effort. Foreman is seeking volunteers from each group to assist in this important effort.

"Northern Illinois is the home to hundreds of thousands of war veterans and those civilians that helped them. As time goes on, more and more war veterans pass away and the details of their experiences and those of their comrades are lost to the American people," said Foreman, an Air Force veteran.

"War veterans are often hesitant to talk about their own experiences because of a sense of humility, but they are often the last witnesses to the sacrifice and bravery of others who did not survive the war or have since passed. The events they witnessed firsthand and their memories of their comrades in arms need to be preserved."

Court reporter Vernita Allen-Williams and Colleen Eitermann will coordinate the court reporters' support of this important project.

The following judges, who are veterans, John Phillips (USAF), Michael Betar (USMC), Michael Fusz (USN) and John Scully (USN), will contact veterans organizations and individual veterans in northern Illinois to advise them of the project and to seek their help in contacting other war veterans and civilians who aided in the war efforts.

They will also recruit Lake County lawyers, assistant state's attorneys and assistant public defenders to interview the war veterans and civilians.

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