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Grants awarded for veterans' legacy


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that the National Cemetery Administration awarded nine grants totaling more than $2.4 million as part of the Veterans Legacy Program (VLP), a project that honors America’s Veterans and service members by uncovering and sharing their stories.
This year’s VLP grant announcement marks an increase from six to nine recipients and more than $260,000 over last year’s awards. These grants provide funding to conduct research into Veterans’ service, accomplishments, and their role in their communities. The educational tools generated by this research support the teaching of histories of those interred in VA national cemeteries and VA grant-funded state and Tribal Veterans’ cemeteries.
“We look forward to a third successful year working with our grant partners,” said Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Ronald Walters. “Grant recipients will engage with younger generations of Americans to help them learn about and appreciate the legacy of the nation’s Veterans.”
This year’s recipients were selected from a pool of twenty applicants. Each recipient will develop and produce material over the course of the next year. The recipients are:
Loyola Marymount University grant award $350,000 — The “LMU Digital Veterans Legacy Project” will continue its efforts to research and document the lives of Veterans interred in Los Angeles National Cemetery. Working closely with local high schools and community and Veterans’ groups, the project will focus on women Veterans, Buffalo soldiers, and Japanese and Chinese American Veterans of wars other than World War II. LMU’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp detachment will also collaborate on the project.
The Texas State University grant award $344,015 — TSU’s project, titled “Texas Veterans Legacy for Tomorrow,” will leverage storytelling, social work methodologies, educational pedagogy, and primary source materials to create a publicly accessible resource for university professors, high school teachers, and community members. Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will interview student Veterans, alumni, and community Veterans who have lost a comrade.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History grant award $342,000 — GLI’s new project, titled “Vietnam Veterans: Legacies of Service,” will commemorate Vietnam Veterans and service members interred in VA national or grant-funded cemeteries. The project will explore those who served in the Vietnam era, why they served, where they served, and, importantly, how Veterans continued to serve their families, communities, fellow Veterans, and the nation after the war. GLI will create lesson plans, conduct teacher professional development, and institute a Legacies of Service Award for students whose work excels in honoring these Veterans.
National History Day, Inc. grant award $320,861 — This project, titled “Silent Heroes: Untold Stories from the Korean War” will leverage NHD’s teachers and students nationwide to identify Korean War era Veterans interred in nearby Veterans cemeteries and guide research and writing of profiles of those veterans for publication. NHD will develop lesson plans that guide students through research processes, and help students develop video eulogies featuring content from cemetery visits with primary sources and historical artifacts.
Kennesaw State University grant award $311,819 — KSU’s project will mentor and supervise undergraduate students as they collect interviews from family members of World War II Veterans interred in three Veteran cemeteries in Georgia who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. Students will also assist in the collection and analysis of census data to visualize demographic, housing, and occupational trends. Students will curate this narrative and data to create an installation in the university’s Museum of History and Holocaust Education. The project will also develop lesson plans and curricular materials for a variety of student age ranges and learning settings, and outreach materials to include posters, Veterans Legacy Memorial content, and an outreach booklet.

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater grant award $281,923 — The UWW project, titled “Cim Cia Project: Sharing the lives of Hmong American Veterans,” will be conducted in cooperation with the Minnesota Zej Zog’s National Coalition of Hmong Educators. It will focus on Hmong American Veterans interred in 14 cemeteries across 10 states, collecting and sharing oral histories with family members, and developing a curriculum and teaching materials for teachers to bring these stories and mementos into their K-12 classrooms.
West Virginia Humanities Council grant award $223,458 — The “West Virginia National Cemeteries Project” will facilitate the work of high school students from Grafton High School and University High in Morgantown as well as a dedicated team of West Virginia University graduate students who will advise and support the high school students. These students will compose biographies of Veterans interred at Grafton and West Virginia National Cemeteries and produce a dual set of digital and traveling exhibits focusing on the European and Pacific Theaters of World War II.
Troy University grant award $200,017 — TU’s project “Mobile National Cemetery: United States Colored Troops (MNC/USCT)” will memorialize the service of Black Civil War Veterans interred at Mobile National Cemetery. Students at Troy University and several south Alabama middle and high schools will engage in original historical research to tell the stories of seventy-eight USCT Veterans buried there — some fighting to end slavery, others to escape it — and to tell the collective story of these men as they navigated post-war Mobile.
Go For Broke National Education Center grant award $67,072 — GFBNEC’s project, titled “Interned at Home, Honor on the Battlefield: The Remarkable Stories of the Japanese American Soldiers of WWII,” will bring the legacy of the Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans) World War II Veterans to students from Los Angeles Unified School District’s Downtown Business Magnets School. The Go for Broke Journalism Institute will focus student learning on the stories of 23 Nisei World War II Veterans — many who served their country while their families were incarcerated in American internment camps — and develop students’ journalistic research and writing skills. Students will reflect upon this important chapter in U.S. history as well as contemporary issues surrounding civil liberties, social justice, racial tolerance, equality, and democracy.
Three of the recipients — West Virginia Humanities Council, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Loyola Marymount University — were also grantees last year.
Established in 2016, VLP memorializes Veterans through educational outreach, connecting students, educators, and citizens with NCA cemeteries and the histories of the Veterans interred in them.
Since fiscal year 2022, VA has now awarded 21 grants totaling over $6.8 million to educational organizations and engaged more than 1,600 students and teachers of all levels in Veteran research and commemoration. Learn more about the Veterans Legacy Grant Program.