[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) applauded Senate approval today of legislation to expand the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project to allow for the sharing of information on the lives of servicemembers who are missing in action or who have died as a result of their service. Blumenthal and Moran introduced the Senate companion to the Gold Star Families Voices Act in September. The bill was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 97-0 and now heads to President Obama’s desk for signature.
“The Veterans History Project is an incredible national resource that allows our men and women in uniform to share their stories with generations of future Americans. But that narrative – which is so critical to understanding and preserving our history – is incomplete without the voices of servicemembers missing or killed in action,” Blumenthal said. “I am proud to join a bipartisan group in Congress – including Senator Moran and my Connecticut colleague, Representative Esty – in leading this effort to help ensure that those who made the ultimate sacrifice are never forgotten.”
“The Library of Congress’ Veteran History Project collects stories that remind us of the courage and heroism of our veterans,” said Moran. “Incorporating the stories of servicemembers who went missing in action or died as a result of their service is essential to making certain the project reflects the efforts of generations of Americans. For our Gold Star Families who now get to share their stories, this legislation helps us honor the sacrifice of their loved ones.”
Congress created the VHP in 2000 to collect and catalog the stories of American war veterans. The purpose of the VHP is “to preserve the memories of this Nation’s war veterans so that Americans of all current and future generations may hear directly from veterans and better appreciate the realities of war and the sacrifices made by those who served in uniform during wartime.” To date, the VHP has collected the oral history records of more than 100,000 veterans who have served in military engagements since World War I.
The Gold Star Families Voices Act would allow the parents, spouses, siblings and children of servicemembers who are missing or killed in action to participate in the VHP by telling the stories of their loved ones.
Blumenthal has also introduced legislation to honor the sacrifice of Gold Star Families by re-issuing the “Gold Star” stamp recognizing and honoring families who have lost a child or family member in service to the nation. The U.S. Post Office Department first issued a stamp honoring Gold Star Mothers in 1948. U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) has sponsored similar legislation that establishes a stamp to honor those that have died in service to their country.