Project: Veteran’s Legacy Project

active 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Veteran’s Legacy Project
This Project is OPEN.
Institution
University of Central Florida
Project Contact
Category
Digital Projects, Pedagogy, Resources
Description

In May 2016, Under Secretary Ron Walters of the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) launched the Veterans Legacy Program (VLP). His vision for the VLP is “to memorialize Veterans’ service to the nation by telling their stories.” The VLP’s goal, according to Dr. Bryce Carpenter, NCA’s Educational Outreach Program Officer, is to partner with “academic communities”–scholars and students–to conduct “research about veterans’ lives, veterans in their local cemeteries” and to be able to share these stories of service and sacrifice from the 136 national cemeteries with younger students and the general public.

In 2017, the NCA selected UCF as one of three schools awarded contracts as inaugural VLP partners. In 2018, it became one of nine schools participating in the VLP nationwide. As Dr. Barbara Gannon has stated, UCF “was made for this program.” The History Department and the Center for Humanities and Digital Research (CHDR) are committed to doing publicly engaged research. Our partnership with NCA builds on a number of ongoing and relevant research projects, including the UCF Community Veterans History Project and RICHES digital archive.

Undergraduate and graduate students in UCF courses in 2017 and 2018 created digital learning tools, conducted research to find primary sources, and wrote biographies of over 130 veterans commemorated at four national cemeteries—two in Florida and two in eastern France: Florida National Cemetery, St. Augustine National Cemetery, the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. In 2018, our research focused on the history of two major conflicts in US history: the Seminole Wars and World War I. Over many months, our team of graduate and undergraduate research assistants wrote, edited and finalized biographies, created digital resources, assisted area K-12 teachers in the construction of instructional materials, and assisted with the website.

Our partnership honors veterans and brings cemeteries alive for students—at universities, elementary, middle and high schools—through a range of instructional materials and interactive digital history tools. A big part of this partnership is to showcase “what the humanities can do in a real world setting.” As Dr. Caroline Cheong describes it, we show students how scholars work in the field, interact with the community, and breathe life into history by “telling the stories of our nation’s veterans.”

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