Northern Ohio Veteran's Oral History Project

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?” 

(Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Senator & Philosopher)

We are connected to our past by what we know of those who lived before us. Therefore, it is vital to remember history so that we can learn from its mistakes and victories. History must be recorded so that there is no mistaking the events of the past. It cannot exist without the personal records and oral accounts of people. Therefore, it is so essential of preserving not only the records and accounts of corporate bodies, governments, organizations etc., but preserving the letters, diaries, pictures, and objects of individuals. The Liberty Aviation Museum has begun the Northern Ohio Veterans' Oral History Project. This is a museum project, and not officially connected with any individual, government body, corporate entity or etc.

This program is seeking to gather the personal memories and/or memoirs of Northern Ohio war veterans of all military conflicts from World War 1 through current conflicts. We are particularly interested in wartime veteran's service and experiences that were involved with military aviation, but want and accept all veteran's service and experiences. Preserving authentic records of these conflicts and the actual recorded verbal statements from the perspective of a veteran provides no better glimpse into actual happenings and wartime events. We seek to know, with honor and respect, from only those who are willing to share what they experienced, or from families who are willing to share their deceased loved one's experiences. This is an on-going project and will continue as long as veterans and families are willing to share their important and vital stories for future generations to learn from and appreciate. It is significant for each and every veteran's experiences to be shared and preserved. 

A typical interview and processing of records (if available) happens along these lines, the process begins with a personal interview which is recorded visually or audibly. The recording is then personally transcribed and if available, records and correspondence are digitally scanned. This can include official records, scanning photographs, letters, and correspondence provided by a veteran or a veteran's family. The copied materials then become part of the Liberty Aviation Museum’s collections/archives which is then made available for study and research by educators, students, researchers, scholars, etc.

Once all materials are processed, the veteran or family receives a package that contains a typed transcription of the interview, data DVD of the actual interview, and digital files of all submitted materials in the veteran’s collection, photocopies of all submitted documents, and a description of his/her collection. The original records, photographs, letters, correspondence, and other related documents are returned, unless the veteran and/or family decides to donate them to the museum. If a veteran and/or family wants to donate his/her original materials, the Liberty Aviation Museum is always pleased to consider any new donation. If accepted, they are preserved as part of our permanent collection/archives.

Therefore, if you are a US wartime veteran or know of a military veteran from Northern Ohio and would like to participate in the Northern Ohio Veterans' Oral History Project, please contact Gene Smith, Archivist/Museum Registrar at 419-732-0234. He will arrange a time and place convenient for you.