The Stewart Bell Jr. Archives at Handley Regional Library remembers veterans all year long. In 2001, the archives joined the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project and began collecting oral history from local soldiers.
“We began interviewing our WWII veterans, and also veterans from Korea, Vietnam and now the Middle East. As well as people who served in the peace time,” said Handley Library archivist Rebecca Ebert.
When Wayne McCaughey went on a search for his uncle’s WWI records, he discovered that several of them had been destroyed. Once he enlisted the help of a researcher to recover them, he then decided to archive his own war stories.
“I took an effort to get a researcher in St. Louis. They found out that he was not only killed in combat, but he was awarded a Silver Star, which nobody in the family knew, ” said Vietnam war veteran Wayne McCaughey.
McCaughey sat down with Handley Library and told them his story from the very beginning. Interviewers volunteer to sit down with the veterans for approximately one hour to record their accounts.
“Some of them go through the wars pretty unscathed. Others go through the wars where they see people killed, and they lose good friends. It’s just amazing how you can go through the same experience, but so different,” said interviewer Frances Lowe.
The interviews are available to the Winchester community for residents to learn more about local veterans. Handley Library says they are always looking for more veterans to share their stories.