Oral History Project
Oral histories give us the opportunity to discover what life was like in the past. They are an authentic record that goes beyond the pages of a textbook. The goal of the Oral History Project at Governors Island National Monument is to connect with the men and women who left their mark on Governors Island.
National Park Service Rangers and volunteers have already conducted several interviews, but there are many more stories that need to be shared. Whether they are the memories of a child who grew up on Governors Island during World War II or a member of the United States Coast Guard who witnessed the island's closing in 1996, these narratives allow us to appreciate what the military posts at Governors Island meant to its residents and employees.
Below are just four examples of the stories recorded through the Oral History Project, which future generations will be able to both learn from and enjoy.
Click on the links below to discover the rich history of the island from those who lived it:
Did You Know?
Henry “Hap” Arnold (1886-1950), a founding father of the modern U.S. Air Force, got the itch to fly while a second lieutenant in the infantry at Fort Jay in 1909, watching biplanes take off and land on Governors Island. His commanding officer told him that he knew of no better way to commit suicide. In 1911, he learned to fly with the Wright brothers and would go on to become the first five-star general of the Army Air Corps and the first and only five star general of the U.S. Air Force.