After finishing writing training, an intern needs to get started on their first Veteran of the Day (VOD) post. And if there are no pre-approved cards or public submissions available, that means doing independent research. While there are many sources around, narrowing it all down can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to approach research!
- Use the VOD planning calendar! On this document available in the VOD board on Trello, you will see when heritage months, branch anniversaries, battle commemorations, etc. will appear. If you are looking for a Veteran who qualifies for Asian American/Pacific Islander heritage month, it might make searching easier. It will also help you with suggesting a posting date, which we always appreciate.
- Check out your local newspapers and newsletters. Veterans will often appear on news broadcasts or give interviews, especially if they’re older or were involved in significant events in U.S. history. And they will do the same for local news stations or papers, too. You may have a VOD in your neighborhood!
- Consult our Research list. This source list was compiled when the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) went down last year for a day, and we’ve been adding to it since. On this list, we have independent VHPs, a list of university notable alumni, presidential libraries, etc. Check out this list and if you find sites that you think might help your fellow interns, feel free to let us know!
- Visit military museums, local history societies or historical sites. In the D.C. area, we have many military museums like the Museum of the Marine Corps, Arlington National Cemetery, the Coast Guard Museum, etc. Many of these places have sites with virtual displays, so if you don’t have a museum or historical site in your area or if they’re closed due to pandemic conditions, go online.
- Follow up on leads! A former writing intern said that when he did research on Veterans to gather info, he’d sometimes hear mentions of other Veterans or people the Veteran knew in the service. This has happened with us, too, so if you find another Veteran while doing research on someone, use that trail to see if we can use other Veterans, too!
- Represent all branches and groups. Not every Veteran served in the Army; stories from the Coast Guard, Air Force, Merchant Marines, etc. are equally important. We are also trying to feature younger Veterans who served from the Vietnam War to the present, so also consider researching Veterans from that period, including those of the Cold War or those of Operations Iraqi or Enduring Freedom!
There is so much more available beyond the Library of Congress VHP. We highly encourage our interns to explore as many options as they can. It may take time to get used to the process, but by the time your internship has ended, it will become second nature. Good luck on research!
Writer: Sarah Concepcion
Editors: Annabelle Colton, Julia Pack
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley