Iowa veterans wanted to tell their stories for national record

By Dar Danielson, Radio Iowa
Veterans will get a chance to tell their story and have it preserved at the Library of Congress this weekend in central Iowa.

Sara Robinson does the interviews as part of the Iowa Veterans’ Perspective organization she founded. “I travel all over the state depending on who wants to host me. The local libraries usually know the veterans in the area — so I am able to coordinate with them in order to bring in the local veterans in places like Newton, Guttenberg, Sioux City,” she says.

Her next event is Saturday at the Urbandale Public Library. Robinson is a member of the Iowa National Guard and says her family’s long military history spurred her to do this. “It’s a part of the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project, so they have kind of a script that I go by that just asks generic questions about their life, because once you know a little bit more about a person’s life — you definitely know more about our nation’s history,” Robinson explains.

She believes her own background makes it easier to get the veterans to open up. “I’ve actually found that as a veteran myself, since I can talk the talk, I am able to get them to open up to me a little bit more,” according to Robinson. “Because I know those little nuances in the conversation — such as the difference between boot camp and basic training — and we’re speaking this language that every veteran speaks, which is the language of veterans.”

She makes appointments for the interviews so there is time for the stories and so veterans don’t have to wait. You can sign up online. “My website is www.vetstories.org, or you can just go to Google and type in Iowa Veterans’ Perspective and it will take you to all my different social media platforms, and you are able to send me messages that way,” she says.

Robinson says any libraries that would like to host a session can also contact her. She says the interviews are an hour to an hour-and-a-half and then volunteers package up the interviews and send them to the Library of Congress for historical preservation.

The Veterans Interview Day Saturday in Urbandale has appointments starting at 9:00 a.m. and running until 6:00 p.m. Veterans of all wars and representing all military branches are encouraged to register to share their stories. If you have questions about the interview process, contact Sara at Iowa Veterans’ Perspective at 515-710-9869.