In the heart of a public place, an interview sustains the pulse of history. Vietnam War veteran John Hitchcock shares his military service with a man who has made it his mission to gather what he can, on as many veterans as he can.
“As much as I can, I am recording interviews,” said Stout.
He is the Heroes Project Coordinator of the Licking County Library. He has been entering the audio histories into a database that spans from the Revolutionary War to present day. The goal is to offer more than a textbook's take on serving the country.
It is an archive of personal stories, scanned documents, letters and pictures; a time capsule you can access to make the past come alive and to learn about Licking County locals who have given so much.
"I’ve been here my whole life and I'm amazed at what I didn't know of the sacrifices that they've made ... the people we've forgotten,” explains Stout
People like the two Cooley’s: a father and his 15-year-old son who enlisted together during the Civil War
Or Merle Davis, a Newark graduate who was at Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona.
Or Judge Robert Hoover, who served stateside in the Vietnam era. "Vets should have the opportunity to tell their story for posterity and what a wonderful resource that will be for future generations,” says Hoover about the Heroes Project.
It is dedicated to remembering the people who served and died, like Devon Seymour, whose post 9/11 words are preserved for all to see: I always know it's worth the risk. I am following in the footsteps of heroes.
It’s also for those vets who live to tell.
For Doug Stout, he says it’s a blessing that veterans give him a glimpse into their lives - if only for a moment.
Stout hopes the database will be accessible on line by week’s end. He says it will include interviews from dozens of surviving Licking County D-Day veterans. You’ll be able to find the project at www.lickingcountylibrary.info.