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updated: 9/25/2013 4:51 PM

6,500 Illinois veterans contribute to history project

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  • Western Springs resident Barry Cicero, left, an Army veteran who served as a nuclear weapons storage specialist in Alaska during the Vietnam era, snaps a photo of the Titan Fever Show Choir performing a medley of military anthems Tuesday during a ceremony celebrating the Illinois Veterans History Project in Springfield.

      Western Springs resident Barry Cicero, left, an Army veteran who served as a nuclear weapons storage specialist in Alaska during the Vietnam era, snaps a photo of the Titan Fever Show Choir performing a medley of military anthems Tuesday during a ceremony celebrating the Illinois Veterans History Project in Springfield.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- State officials say thousands of Illinois veterans have contributed stories to a project that's working to preserve historical details about military members.

The Illinois Veterans History Project was created in 2005 by Secretary of State Jesse White. An Army veteran himself, White wanted collect accounts of people who had been to war.

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The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported the effort has collected historical accounts from 6,500 veterans. They include World War I veterans to people who've been in present conflicts. Organizers are hoping to add even more voices.

White tried to drum up support for the project during an event Tuesday in Springfield that was attended by dozens of veterans. White encouraged them to contribute, saying the project will help preserve details of their stories for students and future generations.

The collection is available online and lists details about when and where a veteran served as well as details about their units. Veterans can include videos and written personal stories.

"We're asking people to come forward to let us know what they experienced while they were in the military so we can make this a part of history," said White, who is also the state's chief archivist. "People will be able to go to our website, pull up the stories and hear about the experiences of these veterans."

Among those who've already contributed to the effort is 92-year-old Clyde Brubaker.

The Litchfield resident flew dozens of missions over Europe in World War II.

"Our planes were often hit," he said. "On one mission, my plane had 20-some holes in it. That wasn't unusual. As long as it didn't hit a vital part of the aircraft or crew member, it wasn't a big deal."

Details about how to participate can be found online. Or people can get forms to fill out at the secretary of state's office locations around Illinois, driver service facilities and the state's public libraries.

Details about how to participate can be found here.

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