September 29, 2022
Watch Senator King present the interviews HERE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King today submitted his first nine interviews with Maine veterans to the Library of Congress where they will be preserved as part of their Veterans History Project (VHP) for future generations. During the presentation ceremony, Senator King and VHP Director Monica Mohindra highlighted the importance of preserving the firsthand stories of America’s veterans; stressing that this history is essential to honoring and understanding the sacrifices of America’s brave servicemembers. The Senator also discussed how his interviews with Maine veterans have helped him shape legislation and better understand the issues facing those who served. King recently included a servicemember suicide report recommended to him during a veteran interview in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
“We are literally recording history that can inform our future. One of my favorite sayings from Mark Twain, everybody has one, is history doesn't always repeat itself, but it usually rhymes. That means we all have something to learn from history,” said Senator King. “For example, the first interview I did was with a fellow named Carmine Pecorelli. Carmine served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam – he served in the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army all in one career. But sadly, a few months ago, we lost him. Without the [Veterans History Project] his history and stories would have been lost.”
“The other thing that I think is important about these interviews is that they can inform policy,” continued Senator King. “A veteran made a point to me in our interview that he thought it would be worthwhile to ask the military to look at veteran suicide by job classification. That is [now] an amendment in the National Defense Act that will be on the floor of the US Senate in a few weeks, and it came out of that interview. We’re asking the Defense Department to study the issue of veteran suicide by job classification to see if there are places with additional danger that we should address. People in my business don’t listen enough, and that’s what this program is all about, is listening to veterans from a variety of backgrounds, a variety of conflicts, and a variety of experiences.”
During the presentation ceremony, VHP Director Mohindra thanked Senator King for his work on the project and for submitting the nine Maine interviews.
“Thank you so very much Senator King and everyone in your office who helped organize the interviews and collect the stories,” said VHP Director Mohindra. “You have ensured that the voices of veterans you interviewed will live on. We tend to think of that as being something that lives on because we're speaking to individual veterans. But the truth is that legacy of service and that life, living property of that legacy is not just because you're taking these individual personal narratives. It's because of the use and what happens to them once they're here. They don't sit on dusty shelves, but they're used every day. Countless communities across Maine and the nation will benefit from this.”
Over the last year, Senator King has conducted nine interviews with Maine veterans as part of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, an effort by the Library to collect, preserve and distribute the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The interviews and primary documents from the project are then used by researchers, historians, students, and filmmakers across the country. You can find or watch all nine of Senator King’s interviews HERE.