Aug 8, 2023 - World

Veterans history project seeks more Latino stories

The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A Library of Congress project that collects and preserves war veterans' first-hand accounts wants to hear more stories from Latinos.

Driving the news: The 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, in which 150,000 Hispanics served, was last week, and the Veterans History Project is hoping that commemoration will spur more veterans to share their stories. Most veterans from that war are in their 80s and 90s now.

Details: The project currently features 117,000 veterans who served from the First World War through the most recent conflicts. It's unclear how many of those are Latino because racial and ethnic self-identification is optional, says Monica Mohindra, director of the Veterans History Project.

  • The project includes first-person narratives via original audio or video interviews, photos, letters, diaries, journals and unpublished memoirs.

Flashback: Latinos have fought in the U.S. wars for centuries.

  • That includes the Army's 65th Infantry Regiment from Puerto Rico, also known as the Borinqueneers, a storied unit that played a key role in the Korean War and was involved in other conflicts.

What they're saying: "Truthfully history is happening all the time … and that is a big part of why it's so important that we have as many stories that represent the fullness of experience as possible," Mohindra says.

  • "It's really important that we understand these people who are at our moments of history, right? We are all informed by what happens during each of these conflicts."

Of note: Nearly 18% of active duty military personnel in 2021, the last available data, identified as Hispanic.

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