Veterans History Writing Project

August 6, 2014 | By Clement Vigneaud

Project coordinator: Derek Malone-France

Total costs of the project: $204.020
Embassy of France support: $23.000

Summary of the Project

The Veterans History Writing Project (“VHWP”) is a cross-disciplinary, multimedia writing project commemorating the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and the liberation of France.  The George Washington University Writing Program (“UWP”) will lead the VHWP by coordinating with a wide range of partners at GW and beyond, including Georgetown University, the World War II Foundation, the Veterans Writing Project, and others.  (Georgetown has submitted a separate application for funding detailing its portion of the Washington D.C. Consortium’s project, a seminar and student outreach program that will complement the VHWP.)

The goal of the VHWP is to create public-service learning opportunities for students to research, experience and explore our countries’ shared history and modern relationship, as well as to promote student and public awareness of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and its ongoing historical relevance.  In doing so, the VHWP aims to promote both student interest in France and long term U.S.-Franco relations.     

The centerpiece of the VHWP is a public service-learning project in which eight students, including several student veterans, will travel to France to assist the surviving World War II veterans of the 29th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during the veterans’ historic “final landing” in Normandy.  During the tour, the students will participate in the creation of two multimedia writing projects recording this extraordinary event.  The first will be a professional documentary film on the tour sponsored by the UWP in partnership with the World War II Foundation for broadcast on public television stations across the United States.  The second will be a short documentary on the students’ experience of participating in the journey and the larger film project, which will be self-produced by the students, under the supervision of the UWP and distributed via GW social media.  Both projects will be premiered at GW in Fall 2014. 

In conjunction with this center-piece project, the UWP will coordinate related courses and writing projects within the University Writing Program, the GW History Department, the GW French Department, and the Elliott School of International Affairs.  This will include (i) special lectures by GW faculty ; (ii) student research on the lives and experiences of the surviving veterans of the 29th Division; (iii) student interviews with World War II veterans, which the UWP will arrange to have archived in the U.S. Library of Congress as part of the Library’s Veterans History Project ; and (iv) student writing projects on the broader theme of the liberation of France.  Afterwards, the best student writing projects will be published online as companion pieces to the documentaries.

participating centers