Others have gotten the same idea s Jim White. Rusty Edmister
’ 66 (’ 68 MBA) took up an offer from a
World War II vet he met at his gym to
watch a DVD of his war recollections.
The state Division of Archives and History was doing the interviews, and soon
Edmister was in downtown Raleigh,
telling his own Vietnam story.
But getting to Raleigh wasn’t so easy
for a lot of vets, the retired salesman
surmised. What if he bought a camera
and went on the road for the effort?
That was seven years ago, and the N.C.
Military Veteran Oral History Project
has 329 interviews on DVD. Edmister
laughs when asked whether he had
formal training in oral history; he just
turned on the camera, and he was
doing it not for an archive but for the
vets and their families. Now he has three
partners, all veterans, helping him look for
interviewees and interviewers.
“They’ve always said, you know, ‘I
ought to talk to somebody about these
things,’ but that doesn’t happen, and the
next thing we see is their obituaries,” Ed-
mister said. “We let them talk about what
they’re willing to talk about.”
Then he and his partners ask, “How
many copies do you want?” Edmister and
the state agency parted ways because, he
said, the state put too many ground rules
on the project. Now they ask another
question: “Do we have your permission to
place your interview at UNC?”
“I go back to the notion of people think
of the archives sometimes as a dusty crypt,”
Giemza said. “I don’t see it that way at all.
I see it as a big party where all the voices of
the past are kind of having a great dinner
FILE: JOHN WILLIAM KRAUS AND JOE BERGMAN
“We had 15,000 men going up there, and we got up
there and we heard on the radio that elements of the
First Marine Division are encircled by Chinese and
had very slim chance of anyone coming out alive.”
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