CENTER FOR U.S. WAR
VETERANS' ORAL HISTORIES
If they are lucky, soldiers come home from war. Memoirs are written by some, but for most, expecting to move on with their lives, the memories, good and bad, linger on in their minds. It was ever thus. It is those veteran stories that the Veterans Oral History Project at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey, affiliated with the Library of Congress program, wishes to capture and preserve for the future.
The Museum’s Oral History Director is Assistant Curator Carol Fowler. Ms. Fowler was born in Jersey City and is a graduate of the College of Saint Elizabeth. After having a family, she returned to Brookdale Community College to take history courses and ended up doing work as an Associate Producer of a college television show titled Triumphant Spirit Series: America’s WWII Generation Speaks. She then began conducting veteran interviews with History Mentor Paul Zigo and his project, The Center for WWII Studies and Conflict Resolution and was hired to help establish an oral history program at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in 2001.
Over the years since, Ms. Fowler has conducted over 600 interviews with veterans from World War II to the present, has been commended by the Library of Congress and invited to several meetings in Washington, where she was named among the top fourteen oral history interviewers in the country. Asked about her program, Ms. Fowler has defined it as her “life’s work.” And that it is what she was “always meant to do.” She has no plans to retire.
Ms. Fowler also works with local community leaders and programs, including Veterans’ organizations, the Manasquan Elks, who sponsor her annual Veteran Oral History luncheon, Assemblyman Edward Thomson, who provides legislative resolutions personalized to each veteran at the luncheon and the Quilts of Valor award program for veterans.
July 11, 1865
The Second New Jersey Infantry regiment, the last remaining unit from the First New Jersey Brigade, was mustered out of the Union army.
July 9, 1892
A five-hundred-pound shell fired from the United States ordnance testing range at Sandy Hook accidentally hit the schooner Henry R. Tilton and sank it.
July 4, 1813
An American subterfuge of hiding an armed party of sailors below decks on a local fishing boat, the Yankee, succeeded in capturing the British schooner Eagle off Sandy Hook.
– Carol Fowler