For V-E Day, Library of Congress puts WWII veterans’ stories online

Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion — Mary Crawford Ragland’s unit — take part in a parade ceremony in Rouen, France on May 27, 1945. (Courtesy National Archives)

You may not be able to get to the Library of Congress these days, but that hasn’t stopped the library from celebrating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

The library’s Veterans’ History Project announced Tuesday the launch of “End of World War II: 75th Anniversary,” an online collection of video and audio interviews with World War II veterans about their experiences and what the end of the war meant to them.

The library said in a statement that many of the oral histories are being put online for the first time.

The storytellers include:

Jerome Yellin, of the 78th Fighter Squadron, who flew in the last mission of the war in the Pacific and landed on Iwo Jima to find out the war was over. He speaks frankly of the comrades he lost and the post-traumatic stress disorder he experienced after the war.

Mary Crawford Ragland, an African-American woman who served as a WAC in the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, talks about the difficulty of keeping the mail going in a war zone, of marching down the Champs-Elysees in Paris and of seeing a concentration camp in France firsthand.

Jimmie Kanaya, who served as a medic in Europe and escaped from German captivity three times – all after helping his parents move into a Japanese internment camp.

All these stories and more are available at the Library’s Experiencing War site.

Friday marks the 75th anniversary of V-E Day, the end of the war in Europe.

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