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Stories of Service: The Holt Oral History Program 2017 Highlights

A vital component in the Museum & Library’s pursuit of its mission, the Holt Oral History Program is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing the unique Stories of Service of the citizen soldier—not just high ranking officers or recognizable faces from history, but every man and woman who has ever served and sacrificed for our Armed Forces. Launched in 2013 with the generous support of Karen Pritzker, the Seedlings Foundation, and Colette Holt, the program has collected more than 215 oral histories to date by veterans of every American service branch and nearly every modern war.

In 2017, the Oral History Program had the unique opportunity to record the oral histories of a number of wounded warriors who were participating in the 2017 Warrior Games in Chicago. For the first time in its history, the Department of Defense’s adaptive sports competition, Warrior Games, moved from behind the gates of military bases and into public places. These veterans reflected on their service and how adaptive sports helped their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration following their injury or illness while serving. The Pritzker Military Museum & Library, through the Pritzker Military Foundation, was a sponsor of the games to help provide an opportunity for the public to engage with and support our troops.

Each interview provides a distinctive, highly personal take on the inner-workings of the U.S. Military throughout the years. In several instances, stories that were told to the Pritzker Military Museum & Library were the first time the participants had opened up about their experiences with war, and, in at least one case, totally shocked family members learning of those experiences. Those experiences become available for all of our community of users to listen to and learn from, either by going to our Museum & Library’s website, or by downloading one of our Oral History podcasts.

The importance of oral histories cannot be overstated, and it is through your support that the Holt Oral History Program continues to grow, to enrich our collection, and to capture the attention of the community. With that in mind, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library is excited to offer opportunities for the public to get involved, so that every veteran might have a chance to share his or her story.