New StoryCorps project wants to hear from post-9/11 veterans

Papsy Lemus and her husband Omar Lemus will join a Monday news conference to announce the Military Voices Initiative, a StoryCorps project to collect the stories of psot-9/ll veterans. Papsy Lemus recorded a conversation with her daughter Griselda Lemus, who was 8 years old when her mother returned from Iraq. (Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Papsy Lemus and her husband Omar Lemus will join a Monday news conference to announce the Military Voices Initiative, a StoryCorps project to collect the stories of psot-9/ll veterans. Papsy Lemus recorded a conversation with her daughter Griselda Lemus, who was 8 years old when her mother returned from Iraq. (Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune)

It’s the question no veteran returning from war likes to answer: “Did you kill anyone?”

And yet it was on Griselda Lemus’ mind when her mother returned home to Utah from Iraq in 2007.

Griselda, then barely 8 years old, asked the question during an interview recorded for the national StoryCorps project.

Now their poignant exchange is helping to launch a new StoryCorps initiative involving post-9/11 veterans.

Griselda’s mother and father, Papsy and Omar Lemus, will join other veterans and their families, the StoryCorps founder, National Public Radio’s president, NPR’s Weekend Edition host, and others to announce the Military Voices Initiative in Washington on Monday morning.

StoryCorps will send buses outfitted with recording studios around the country, including to wounded warrior care centers, to collect more than 700 stories over the next year.
Some will be edited for national broadcast and aired on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

The entire collection will be archived at the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress, which has a Veterans History Project.

With war over in Iraq and the United States pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014, “It seemed like the right time to begin to tell these stories,” said David Isay, the founder of StoryCorps.

The Military Voices Initiative is the eighth major special effort for the oral history non-profit, he said. The new project, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Boeing Co., may be extended to three years.

Helping Iraq and Afghanistan veterans tell their stories is especially important, given the fact that only 1 percent of Americans serve in the military, Isay said.

“People who are part of military families feel misunderstood and those who are not are disinterested or not comfortable asking the questions,” Isay said. “Part of what we’re doing with StoryCorps is bridging that divide.”

The Griselda-Papsy interview is a good example of the power of the project, he said. Questions arise in the formal setting of a recorded interview that otherwise may never be asked.

Such as Griselda’s question to her mother:

“Did you shoot anyone or kill anyone while you were in the war?”

Said Isay: “I don’t think she would have asked that around the dinner table.”

Papsy Lemus agreed.

“That’s the one that almost choked me up, that she would be thinking about that,” Lemus said Friday.

  The Lemus family plays in their West Valley City, Utah, yard. Papsy Lemus and her husband Omar Lemus will join a Monday news conference to announce the Military Voices Initiative, a StoryCorps oral history project.  ( Kim Raff  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)


The Lemus family plays in their West Valley City, Utah, yard. Papsy Lemus and her husband Omar Lemus will join a Monday news conference to announce the Military Voices Initiative, a StoryCorps oral history project. ( Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune)

Now a staff sergeant in the Utah National Guard, Lemus works in logistics for the Joint Forces headquarters. She was with the 141st Military Intelligence Battalion when it deployed from September 2006 to October 2007, a particularly chaotic and deadly time for U.S. troops in Iraq.

In the recorded interview, Griselda, now 13, also asks her mother how it felt to leave her family behind and whether she saw children in Iraq.

But one of the most moving parts of the short interview is when her mother asks questions of her own.
Griselda tells how her father — a former Marine and Utah National Guardsman who left the Guard when his wife went to Iraq — couldn’t always be both dad and mom.Sometimes, she had to be the mom, she says. Her sister, Nancy, was then 4. Since then, the West Valley City family has added Omar, 1.

Griselda shares how she was most afraid on her mother’s birthday. “I thought if you died on your birthday, I would never see you again. It was hard,” Griselda tells her mother.

Surprised as she is by Griselda’s question about killing, Papsy doesn’t show it.

“No, I never shot my rifle while I was in Iraq,” she tells her child.

 

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ilse-Desiree-Bauer/100002926902527 Ilse Desiree Bauer

    HEAR MY STORY; OUR STORY… IT’S A SHAME WHAT HAS BEEN DONE, AND WHAT IS BEING DONE… SEPTEMBER 11TH; NEW YORK~ OKLAHOMA BOMBING~ OHIO~ SAN FRANCISCO~ SACRAMENTO; WASHINGTON STATE~ GREEN RIVER MASSACRES; NOT AS STATED, WASHINGTON STATE; HOME OF THE GREEN BERETS; THE FRANKLIN COVER UP; GOLDEN ONE~ ETC… TAKE NOTE THAT THE ZODIAC SKETCH IS VIRTUALLY EXACTLY AS OBAMA; THAT THE LETTERS HOLD MY AKA NAME (Des); THAT THE NUMBERS STATED COME UP TO SEPTEMBER 11, AND THE NOTE STATES THAT IT WOULD BE A WHILE BEFORE WE HEARD ABOUT IT; THE ZODIAC BOMBING; ATTACKS ON AMERICAN; MILITARY EDUCATION SYSTEM, THE SAME AS SEPTEMBER 11 BOMBING ON THE AMERICAN WORLD TRADE CENTERS, WHICH INCLUDE THE EDUCATION OF AMERICANS; THE STOP OF B FROM GETTING TO A NOTATION ON THE LETTERS, REFERRING TO THE CHILDREN, AND EDUCATION; THE PRESIDENTIAL CONSPIRACY, BETTER KNOWN AS THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION, AND WHAT THE BOOK DEPOSITORY HAS TO DO WITH THE CASE, AND THE THREE FOOT SHOOTER, AN AMERICAN MILITARY CHILD. THE ZAPRUDER FILMS ALSO REFERRED TO AS THE KENNEDY FUNERAL, AND I THE WIDOW, AMONG MORE OF US… THE POW PICTURE IN SAID FRANCE HELD THERE BY SAID SYRIANS, AND THE EMBLEM ON MY BERET; AN OFFICIAL PICTURE TAKEN BY AMERICAN MILITARY PLANES IDENTIFYING WHO I WAS; I VOICE AT HOMELAND SECURITY, WHEN THE OKLAHOMA BOMBING TOOK PLACE, AND PRIOR AIR WARFARE, ETC, AND THE VOICE ON THE RECORDING; I ALSO THE MOTHER; AUNT, AND GRANDMOTHER OF THE CHILDREN WHO WERE FORCED TO EAT GIRL/BOY SCOUT COOKIES LACED WITH CYANIDE WITH MANY WHO DID NOT PARISH THERE, AND ARE STILL MISSING… COOKIES WHICH LEVEY ATTEMPT/ AND SOLD TO US; THE ATTACKS ON MY FAMILY AND CHILDREN, AND WHO I AM; WHO IS VICTORIA; AND WHAT IS THE VICTORY NAVY ETC… THE OBSESSION WITH THE SAID ZODIAC MURDERERS, AND MARILYN MONROE; MARI LYN MONROE ROYAL NAVY; VANISHED CASES; AND THE ANATOMY VS PSYCHIATRY CASES; RUSH; THE MANSON CASES; LA BIANCA A MILITARY BASE, NOT A WOMAN, OR JUST ONE WOMAN, AND THE STAR; AMERICAN STAR; THE TRUE CASE OF COURAGE UNDER FIRE; THE PENTAGON/CENTIAGON SAN FRANCISCO, ATTACKS, AND SATANIC RAMIREZ CASES, METHODIST, RITUALS HELD THERE YEARLY AFTER TAKE OVER; I CAN GO ON FOREVER REGARDING ALL THE CASES THE SAID PLAYBOY MANSIONS ON AMERICAN EMBASSY LAWN IN LOS ANGELES; HOLLYWOOD ETC BREACH OF SECURITY OF AMERICAN PROTECTED COMMUNICATION SYSTEM; AS WELL AS TRANSPORTATION; TRADES, EDUCATION, AND SAFETY OF OUR CHILDRNE ETC…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ilse-Desiree-Bauer/100002926902527 Ilse Desiree Bauer

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    THIS GOES WITH WHAT I WROTE ON COMMENT BELOW; READ MORE REGARDING MY CASES;