“Faces of Freedom, Stories of Service” Oral History Project

Want to know more about the “Faces of Freedom, Stories of Service” exhibition? Archives intern Annie Banton reflects on her experience of transcribing interviews and the veterans’ stories of lifelong service.

Paula Buckley, U.S. Marine Corps 1981-2001
Photo Credit: Mark Mitchell, 2015.

The exhibition Faces of Freedom, Stories of Service that opened in May 2016 highlights the stories of 13 veterans from the Richmond region. The exhibition spans veterans’ stories from the Vietnam War to current times. Over the summer I have transcribed the oral interviews that were conducted by photographer Mark Mitchell.

Having little experience with transcription I was unsure of what to expect, but this task has shown me the parallels and diversities in the service men and women’s stories. By exploring how the military has affected their time in and out of the service, these interviews highlight stories of both struggle and opportunity. Most of these veterans were not men and women who earned multiple medals, or had wild stories of combat; rather they can be considered everyday heroes. Not only did all of them serve their country, but most of them have also served their community in some fashion. Whether it was a motorcycle club for combat veterans that raised money for college scholarships, or scholarship programs in local schools, these men and women made a life long commitment to serving the people around them. While the process of transcription can be tedious, it allowed me to take a deeper look at how these men and women have participated and served in the Richmond community. 

Faces of Freedom, Stories of Service is on view at the Valentine through November 20, 2016

Annie Banton
Archives Intern
The Valentine