This year, StoryCorps is partnering with Veteran Service Organizations across the country as part of our 2021 Military Voices Initiative Virtual tour, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Through virtual tour stops, community listening events online, and other activities, we are honoring veterans and members of the military community across the country by recording and preserving their stories.

Millions of men and women have served in the armed services, while millions more family members have stood behind them at home. The military community knows well the challenges of multiple deployments, combat-injuries, and long-awaited homecomings. Yet few civilians truly understand the complex realities faced by our troops and their loved ones.

The Military Voices Initiative acknowledges this notion and contributes to StoryCorps’ diverse collection by recording and preserving the stories of veterans of all wars, service members, and military families. The tour offers an opportunity for them to share their experiences in their own words, which may be preserved for posterity in the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Since its launch in 2012, the Military Voices Initiative has preserved 2,800 of these stories, some of which are available to listen to here.

“Public media honors and supports those who serve our country by telling their stories of commitment, courage and leadership,” said Pat Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “CPB is proud to be a longtime supporter of StoryCorps and their work to ensure that these stories are recorded and made accessible to future generations.”

The Military Voices Tour, which, due to COVID-19 safety precautions will be entirely virtual this year, will record with residents in three U.S. cities, including Columbia, SC (April 12–23), Seattle, WA (May 10–21), and Austin, TX (June 14–25). Reservations are free and available to the public, and can be booked online at The Initiative also provides an opportunity for civilians to engage with veterans and service members in their communities through virtual listening events in each city. The event in Columbia, SC took place on April 6, and events will follow in Seattle, WA on April 29 and Austin, TX on June 8.

LocationPartnerRecording Dates
Columbia, SCSouth Carolina Public RadioApril 12 – 23, 2021
Seattle, WAKUOWMay 10 – 21, 2021
Austin, TXKUTJune 14 – 25, 2021

StoryCorps fosters an environment of comfort and intimacy for its interviews, with a trained facilitator guiding participants throughout the process. For the virtual tour, the interview process and experience are conducted via StoryCorps Virtual, a browser-based platform that allows both participants to see and hear one another during their conversation. Participants are joined and guided remotely by a facilitator. After each 40-minute recording session, participants receive a complimentary copy of their interview, and a second copy is archived at the Library of Congress with the participant’s permission.

Founded in 2003 by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps has traveled to every corner of the country to record interviews in the organization’s effort to create a world where we listen closely to each other and recognize the beauty, grace and poetry in the lives and stories we find all around us. 

“Throughout a turbulent year, our military veterans and their families’ courage and sacrifice remain constant. We honor their lives by recording and amplifying these stories and preserving them for generations to come,” said Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps. 

In each city on the tour, StoryCorps partners with the local public radio station, which will air a selection of the interviews recorded and, in many cases, create special programs around the project. StoryCorps may also share edited versions of select interviews collected throughout the tour via its NPR broadcasts, podcast, animated shorts, and digital platforms

Learn more about StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.