Lake County Chief Judge John T. Phillips, an Air Force veteran, recently announced that various partners of the Lake County legal community will again work with the Library of Congress on its Veterans' History Project.
On Veterans Day morning, Tuesday, 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.
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The typed transcripts will be archived at the Library of Congress. Lake County's participation in this program in 2012 and 2013 were moving and inspirational experiences for all who attended. It is anticipated that Allen J. Lynch, Medal of Honor recipient for his bravery in the Vietnam War, will be the guest of honor at the event.
Carol Cord, the administrative assistant to Phillips, will be the main contact for this effort. She can be reached at (847) 377-3771. Any veteran interested in being interviewed or anyone interested in volunteering to assist in this project should contact her by Monday, Oct. 6.
The Library of Congress-sponsored project collects firsthand accounts of veterans from World War II (1939-1946), the Korean War (1950-1955), the Vietnam War (1961-1975), the Persian Gulf War (1990-1995) 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, USO workers, civilian flight instructors and pilots, medical personnel, etc.) are also invited to share their stories.
The program will use volunteers from the Office of the State's Attorney, the Public Defender's Office and members of the Lake County Bar Association to conduct the oral interviews of the war veterans and the civilians who supported the war effort.
Phillips is seeking volunteers from each group to assist in this effort.
"Northern Illinois is the home to thousands of war veterans and those civilians that helped them. 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." Phillips said.
Court reporter Colleen Eitermann, along with Vernita Allen-Williams and Deborah Cohen-Rojas, will coordinate the court reporters' support of this project.
Judges Michael Betar (USMC), Michael Fusz (USN) and John Scully (USN), as well as Assistant State's Attorney Ken LaRue (USN) when he returns from extended active duty in Afghanistan in the early fall, are veterans who will be contacting various 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 that aided in the war efforts.
They will also be recruiting Lake County lawyers, assistant state's attorneys and assistant public defenders to interview the war veterans and civilians. Visit www.19thcircuitcourt.state.il.us.