The National Archives in Washington, D. C. and its other branches across the nation are closed Friday, Nov. 11th for Veterans Day. However, when it is open, if you have not investigated what records they have you need to start.
What you can find there (especially online) include statistics and data relating to the Vietnam War, the Korean War, World War II, World War I, Spanish-American War, the American Civil War and the American Revolutionary War. Each of those eras have different types of material available online. For example for World War I there are many items such as the draft registration forms, those that died and where they are buried, and Veterans’ Homes (places that cared for the aging veterans).
Now Veterans’ military service records and medical records are not online. However, veterans and next-of-kin can order copies of these records. Here is the link with details of ordering those service records using email / online or regular mail. Keep in mind the military person has to have been discharged from the military at least 62 years, so right now that would be anyone discharged by 1953 or earlier to get their records.
The National Archives are not the only sources of military information. The Archives does have a list with links to numerous other sources. Some of these are the Army Center for Military History, the Naval History Center, the Veterans History Project done by the Library of Congress, Pearl Harbor Casualty List, Korean War Project and many others.
Don’t overlook the Women In Military Service for America Memorial further down on the page with other sources. It has information concerning the memorial in Washington, D. C. honoring women of all military services during all different time frames. What is special there are photos of these ladies in uniform, the service time and many with personal write-ups by family members or the ladies themselves of their role in the military entailed.
Photos: WW II airmen of the F6F Hellcat on board the USS LEXINGTON, after shooting down 17 out of 20 Japanese planes heading for Tarawa; American POW held by Japan. They were celebrating July 4th in 1942. It was against Japanese regulations and discovery would have meant death, but the men celebrated the occasion anyway; Civil War with Union regimental fife and drums corps.
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