Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. The formal day we recognize and honor all those who have served in our armed forces.
In school, we learned about the wars, the big battles, and the great leaders. Much less is known about the individuals who served. In my family, my uncle Paul H. Zander, my father Leonard Matthews, and my cousin Keith Howse, all served or are still serving.
More than two decades ago after a distant relative shared a letter he had written to his wife in 1945 while he served in WWII, Andrew Carroll’s heart was touched. Since then he has collected more than 100,000 letters from every war in which Americans have served. They provide a very intimate and personal perspective written by veterans themselves.
Tomorrow is also the day when the Center for American War Letters will open.
Chapman College in Orange, California is seeking to build the largest repository of personal wartime correspondence. The letters will be digitized so they can be accessible to anyone.
Andrew Carroll has donated his collection to the Center and will serve as its Director.
If you have wartime letters, including e-mail, that you would like added to the Center’s collection to be preserved and shared with others, they can be sent to:
The Center for American War Letters
c/o Char Williams – SMC
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
If you are not ready to part with your letters, the Center shares tips for preserving them.