Honoring Heroes Past: U.S. Increase in Veterans Legacy Program Grants Unfolds New Chapters of History

US Department of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has taken a stride into deepening the nation’s reverence for its veterans. Recently, the National Cemetery Administration unveiled a significant boost in funding towards the Veterans Legacy Program (VLP). More than $2.4 million in grants will enable the tracing and sharing of stories from America’s veterans and servicemen.

This year’s disbursement has seen growth in both the number of recipients and funding, increasing from six to nine recipients and rising by more than $260,000 over last year’s awards. These awards will empower deeper exploration into the service, achievements, and societal impact made by these veterans. Moreover, the educational resources produced as a result of this research will enrich the teaching of the histories of those laid to rest in VA national cemeteries and VA grant-funded state and Tribal Veterans’ cemeteries.

Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Ronald Walters, expressed optimism for the forthcoming projects, anticipating that they will stimulate engagement with younger generations of Americans. “We look forward to a third successful year working with our grant partners,” said Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ronald Walters. “Grant recipients will engage with younger generations of Americans to help them learn about and appreciate the legacy of the nation’s Veterans.”

A pool of twenty applicants was narrowed down to nine recipients who will curate and produce material across the next year. Among the recipients, Loyola Marymount University, Texas State University, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the National History Day, Inc. stand out with research projects that cast light on diverse facets of veteran life.

The projects vary in scope and subject. For instance, Loyola Marymount University’s project will concentrate on women veterans, Buffalo soldiers, and Japanese and Chinese-American Veterans of conflicts other than World War II. In contrast, Texas State University’s initiative will utilize storytelling and primary source materials to create a publicly accessible resource.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History will commemorate Vietnam Veterans and explore their service, both during and after the war. Other recipients, like National History Day, Inc., and Kennesaw State University, will delve into untold stories from the Korean War era, and the involvement of World War II Veterans in the Civil Rights Movement, respectively.

Established in 2016, the VLP has been a key platform for honoring veterans through educational outreach, enabling connections between students, educators, and citizens with NCA cemeteries and the histories of veterans interred in them.

This expansion in VLP grants is a clear indication of the country’s commitment to memorizing and celebrating its veterans. It aids in keeping their stories alive, fostering wider understanding and appreciation for their sacrifices, and providing historical context for contemporary civilian and military life. As America continues to uncover and highlight the heroics of past service people, the Veterans Legacy Program looks set to make an indelible mark on the nation’s collective memory.

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