Preserving Stories | Personal

I have recently been working on a long and tedious project at work-oral histories. The museum I work at is collecting oral histories from local Navy veterans who served in Vietnam. I have not had the pleasure of being a part of the interview and recording, but I have been transcribing them. I have been preserving stories by listening and typing the telling of the stories.

Through listening of these veterans and their stories, it has reminded me that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone. These veterans are old and their generation is slowly dying out. (Could you imagine that their kids may not even know some of these stories that they are sharing, or their grandkids or even their great-grand children? )I am typing a person’s story, but I am also recording history for their families, which is amazing to think about. I am preserving a story, a legacy, and part of their life for generations to come.

And every time I start listening to a oral history, it makes me stop and think about my grandmother and my daughter. My grandmother is very old (89 to be exact), and there will be a time where she will not be here with us. And there is a strong chance, Kylie will not remember her. And that breaks my heart. My grandmother has lived through a LOT (WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, the moon landing, President Kennedy’s death, etc.) . And she has raised 5 children, has countless grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren. She is one amazing lady! And every time I sit down to start listening to a story, I immediately think that I need to run over and see my grandmother. I need to photograph, video record, and audio record her for Kylie. I need to document her life, her legacy for generations to come (and for our future children, who may not ever meet her.)

Everyone has a story to tell. And every story is worth documenting. I choose photographs, but my work chooses oral storytelling- whatever you choose, I encourage you to document your life and those closest to you, for generations to come.

*If you know a local (Hampton Roads) Navy Veteran, who served in Vietnam and would like to share his story, please contact me. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum would love to document his story for generations to come.

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    Diana Gordon Photography

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