[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced 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. Companion legislation – authored by U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and others – was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month.
“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. I am proud to join Senator Moran in supporting our colleagues in the House of Representatives introducing legislation to help ensure that those who made the ultimate sacrifice are never forgotten.”
“The Veterans History Project is an important way to recognize the sacrifice of so many American heroes,” Moran said. “Preserving the stories of those who served our country not only honors the legacy of our nation’s veterans, but also reminds all Americans of their service for generations to come. I’m proud to support this legislation to honor Gold Star Families.”
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.
This is the second piece of legislation Blumenthal has introduced this week to honor the sacrifice of Gold Star Families. Blumenthal also introduced legislation with U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) to re-issue 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 introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives for the last two Congresses.