StoryCorps seeks military stories in Columbia

Monday, September 9, 2013 | 4:20 p.m. CDT; updated 9:05 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 9, 2013

COLUMBIA — Area veterans, active-duty service members and their families will have the opportunity to tell and preserve their stories this week.

The StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative oral history project will visit Columbia on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to record the experiences of those who have served in the military since 9/11.

The national project records conversations between two people who know each other, and, with their permission, archives the conversations in the Library of Congress. It is free to participate in the project.

Lee Ann Woolery, University of Missouri Extension community arts specialist, said the program seeks all types of people.

"Those being interviewed are a very diverse group of folks, from all different backgrounds and affiliations," Woolery said. "There is no particular type of person or narrative that we’re looking for. The stories are as varied as the people."

Although StoryCorps records a variety of stories, the Military Voices Initiative is specifically aimed at capturing the stories of those involved in the military after 9/11. Participants are not limited to a specific topic, and they can share any story related to their military experience.

A panel of StoryCorps producers will speak about the process they use at 6 p.m. Friday in 85 Gannett Hall at MU.

The interviews last 40 minutes, and participants must bring someone they know to interview them, such as a family member, friend or colleague. The interviews are held behind closed doors to make the storyteller more comfortable, Woolery said.

"It’s not just a stranger in the room interviewing them. They are comfortable with the person they bring and comfortable to share that story," Woolery said.

Participants will receive a CD recording of their conversation that day, and they will have the opportunity for the conversation to be archived in the Library of Congress.

StoryCorps will be recording 18 interviews while in Columbiaat KBIA/91.3 FM studios. Advance registration is required to participate in the project. Available interview times and registration details can be viewed online.

StoryCorps has recorded and archived more than 45,000 interviews as part of the national oral history project since 2003.

Supervising editor is Edward Hart.

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