{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/folklife.php' }

‘Fair winds and following seas, sailor.’

The following is a guest blog post by Owen Rogers, a Liaison Specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP).

 In Memoriam: The Honorable John S. McCain III

We mourn the loss of the Honorable John S. McCain III, whose service in U.S. military and Congress yielded particularly meaningful contributions to the Library of Congress. As a naval aviator, Vietnam War veteran, and former prisoner of war, he helped us better understand the weight of military service; as a legislator, he gave that opportunity to others.

John McCain, (front, right) with his squadron. John S. McCain, III Collection, Veterans History Project, AFC2001/001/07736.

Following his endorsement of Public Law 106-380, the foundational “Veterans’ Oral History Project Act,” Senator McCain participated in a 2003 oral history recording conducted by Michele Kelly of the Battleship Massachusetts Oral History Program, materials that were subsequently donated to the Library of Congress.

Names of 113 POWs, with type of aircraft and date shot down, written on POW camp toilet paper.”No-show” means the person did not survive being shot down. The notation “puke” indicates a man who cooperated with the enemy. [highlight added here for emphasis]. John Edward Stavast Collection, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress, AFC2001/001/101797.

Within the collections of the Veterans History Project, however, Senator McCain demonstrates a uniquely cyclical significance. The naval aviator features in the collection of Air Force veteran and former prisoner of war John E. Stavast. Cached from North Vietnamese jailors, Stavast’s 1967 “Hanoi Hilton” internment roster meticulously recorded incoming airmen, including John McCain’s October 26, 1967 arrival.

Through cascading layers of representation, Senator McCain confirmed the value of collecting, preserving, and sharing veterans’ narratives.

“Fair winds and following seas, sailor.”

The mission of the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center is to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Learn more at //www.loc.gov/vets. Share your exciting VHP initiatives, programs, events and news stories with VHP to be considered for a future RSS. Email [email protected] and place “My VHP RSS Story” in the subject line.

Visit VHP on Facebook.

Click here for more information.

Honored and Blessed: My Summer Spent with Arkansas Veterans

The following is a guest post by Victoria Anderson, a summer intern in Sen. John Boozman’s (AR) Little Rock office. History may seem like a row of dusty old books sitting on a shelf, something people pass over because it looks boring, but I want to remind everyone that it is not. History is living […]

The Candidate’s a Dodger: An Electoral Folksong from Oral Tradition to Aaron Copland

As Election Day draws near, people often ask the AFC staff if we have any election-related songs or folklore. Of course we do! You can see a selection of song materials from throughout the Library of Congress in the essay “Songs of Politics and Political Campaigns.” But in this blog post I’ll focus on just […]

The American Folklife Center: 40 Years of Change

The following post is part of a series of blog posts about the 40th Anniversary Year of the American Folklife Center. Visit this link to see them all! This year the Library’s American Folklife Center (AFC) turns 40. Detailed histories of AFC are available elsewhere [1], so we thought we’d do something different in this […]

AFC Congratulated in the Congressional Record

On May 23, 2016, Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District took the time to commend the American Folklife Center for 40 years of service to the nation on the floor of the House of Representatives. His statement appeared in the Congressional Record. AFC is grateful to the Congressman for his work with us […]