Central Texas veterans and those in the military community have an opportunity to participate in a revered storytelling project that would enshrine their told experiences in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., for generations to come.
KUT Radio, Austin’s National Public Radio affiliate, is teaming up with StoryCorps, the national nonprofit that records, preserves, and shares the stories of Americans from all backgrounds, to honor area veterans and military families as part of StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.
The Austin recordings will take place through a “virtual recording booth” Monday, June 14 through Friday, June 25, and local members of the military community can make a reservation by calling StoryCorps’ 24-hour reservation line at 800-850-4406 or visiting storycorps.org.
Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has since become a well-loved traveling enterprise. From quaint small towns to bustling cities, the project has visited all 50 states in the effort to collect compelling American stories.
Given the ongoing pandemic, StoryCorps will host the Austin recording sessions virtually through a video conference technology platform that allows participants to see and hear one another during their conversation, and to be joined, remotely, by a facilitator.
Here’s how it works: You invite a loved one or other person of your choice to join you for a conversation. In the virtual recording space, a trained facilitator explains the interview process, then hits “record,” while you share a 40-minute conversation. StoryCorps provides a list of questions to get the conversation started. After the session, you get a copy of your interview.
The recordings are then preserved in StoryCorps’ archive at the Library of Congress — the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered — and StoryCorps shares select stories with the public through its weekly podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and books.
“These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, wisdom, and values; engender empathy and connection; and remind us how much more we have in common than divides us,” a StoryCorps release about the Austin recording sessions says.
The Military Voices Initiative aims to provide a platform for veterans, service members, and military families to share their stories, with the goal being to honor their voices, amplify their experiences, and “let them know that we, as a nation, are listening.”
“For more than a decade, 2.4 million men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan while millions of families have stood behind them at home,” StoryCorps says of the Military Voices Initiative. “The military community knows well the challenges of multiple deployments, combat injuries, and long-awaited homecomings. Yet few civilians truly understand the complex realities of our troops’ service and sacrifice.”
Now is the time for local military community members to help change that through their own voices and stories.
Visit KUT.org and listen to KUT 90.5 for more information about StoryCorps’ Austin visit.