In a few days, we'll be observing Memorial Day again, when we honor those who have sacrificed their lives for their country.
We think it's important to remember that our veterans have been crucial eyewitnesses to history. In that regard, we are losing a precious commodity at an alarming rate: our World War II veterans. It's estimated that we're losing 740 from this group every single day - and over 200,000 a year.
Fortunately, modern technology allows us to effectively capture the memories of those who fought in the 20th Century's greatest conflict - through audio and video interviews that are easily accessed through the internet. And not just YouTube.
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS), back in 2007, compiled over 3000 interviews with World War II vets throughout the country, through local PBS stations. Those interviews, part of The Veterans History Project, are accessible online at http://www.pbs.org/thewar/vet_hist_project.htm.
These veterans were also able to share photographs along with their personal stories through a PBS online story collection tool called PBS StoryShare. You can search through this extensive array of remembrances by PBS station, location or branch of service, or by using a relevant keyword. You'll find almost every aspect of the war represented in this massive database.
But we shouldn't forget our other veterans' service and sacrifice - and their incredible experiences either. Fortunately, the Veterans History Project was expanded beyond its original World War II mission by the Library of Congress to include interviews with veterans representing all of the past 100 years, including World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. You can find out more (including how to participate if you're a veteran) at http://www.loc.gov/vets.
It's worth looking back at these amazing stories, even as we hopefully look forward towards peace.