Veterans History Project tour to come to Homer

A group of Anchorage military veterans will come to Homer next week to tour the community and participate in a nationwide project to record veterans’ oral histories.

An initiative of the Library of Congress, the Veterans History Project started in 2000 “to give citizens across the country the training and tools to create oral histories of American wartime veterans and people on the homefront that directly support a war effort,” tour leader Brad Schmitz said.

Schmitz has participated as an interviewer for veterans with the project previously and initiated the effort for both a tour and opportunity for oral history collection with the Anchorage veterans.

Schmitz, who owns Alaska English Adventures, a language immersion tour company based out of Anchorage, worked with the Homer American Legion Post #16 to set up a meal and celebration space as well as a location for him to conduct interviews with the Anchorage visitors.

The tour will dedicate a full day to recording oral history on Wednesday, June 26.

Other events the veterans will engage in during their time in Homer will include a Bear Creek Winery garden tour, a guided walk of the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, a visit to the Pratt Museum, a tour flight to Grewingk glacier with Beluga Air and a water taxi visit to Gull Island.

According to Paula Gallagher, first vice representative and chaplain of the local legion auxiliary, the evening dinner celebration will be on Tuesday, June 25.

There is an open invitation to all local veterans to come join the Anchorage visitors for a seafood Alfredo dinner and birthday celebration for one of guests, who is turning 90 years old.

The group will be in Homer from Sunday, June 23, until Thursday, June 27.

Schmitz told the Homer News that support for all of the events for the Homer tour were provided by donation, including the bus seats to Homer with the Alaska Bus Company.

Local resident and member of the Homer Elks Club George Hall is providing the camera and technology support for the oral history interview recordings and is helping coordinate arrangements for the interviews to take place there. Schmitz said he would like to thank all contributors to their support for the project and tour.

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