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“Arkansans Ask: Veterans History Project”

The Library of Congress houses the Veterans History Project, which “collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans.”  Learn how Arkansans can take action to preserve the histories of Arkansas veterans in a special episode of “Arkansans Ask” Thursday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m.

In addition to offering information about the Veterans History Project effort in the state and providing guidance for Arkansans to participate in the project, the episode will also discuss the various aspects of the “AETN Salutes Arkansas Vietnam Veterans” initiative.

Panelists include: retired Col. Anita Deason, military and veterans affairs liaison for U.S. Senator John Boozman; Olivia Olson, Library of Congress Veterans History Project volunteer; Dillon Vick, Library of Congress Veterans History Project volunteer; and Julie Thomas, AETN marketing and outreach director. Veteran journalist Steve Barnes will serve as host.

Col. Anita Deason served 33 years in the Army National Guard before retiring in 2013. She became involved with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project in July 2015 after being informed that Sen. Boozman wanted more Arkansans to be made aware of the project and involved in preserving our veterans' experiences.

When Boozman introduced Col. Deason to the Veterans History Project, he shared the story of how his own father served as a waist gunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and later retired from the U.S. Air Force as a master sergeant. However, after his father died, Boozman wished he had asked his father more about his military service experiences.

The senator's comments basically gut-kicked me. My father died shortly after my 19th birthday; he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Philippines. I regret I never really talked to him much about his time in the military. And I failed to even thank him for his service. - Retired Col. Anita Deason

Olivia Olson is a retired teacher and author of two children’s books, “Eva’s Gift” and “Window of Time.” She is also a long-time member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Olson was previously involved with the Veterans History Project and became reengaged after attending a workshop conducted by Sen. Boozman's office. To date, Olson has submitted 55 interviews: 39 that are featured on the Veterans History Project website and 16 that are still being processed.

Dillon Vick is a graduate of North Little Rock High School. He served in the U.S. Navy for 5 1/2 years as a hospital corpsman third class. Vick is now a junior at the University of Central Arkansas. He became involved with the Veterans History Project while interning for Sen. Boozman’s office during the summer of 2017.

Viewers may submit questions and comments at 800-662-2386, paffairs@aetn.org or on Twitter with #ARAsk.

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Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017

“Arkansans Ask: Opioid Addiction,” 7 p.m.