Tuesday, March 25, 2008

NARA unveils new Vietnam Wall interface tomorrow

Because I remember my best friend Jane Johnson’s brother, a medic who was with a unit not heard from for about six weeks while on the delta, I have special feelings about the Vietnam servicemen. Fortunately, he returned, though jarred by the experience -- but at least he returned alive. I have tears of joy, awe and respect as I write about a special project by Footnote that will be unveiled at a press conference tomorrow at the NARA building in Washington, DC. The official word from Footnote insiders is:

“Archivist of the United States, Allen Weinstein, will be doing the unveiling along with Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote. The project has been months in the making and provides an interactive experience for searching out names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. It also provides the ability to upload photos and create tributes.”

So Ol' Myrt here viewed the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scwMAgCLdks, and discovered Richard Schroepher explains his initial experience visiting the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC. He described the same feelings of reverence and respect I felt as I walked the sidewalk in front of The Wall. Richard says The Wall is more than than 58,000+ names. These are many of his friends, who lost their lives in that military conflict. Richard served in the 1st Infantry Division, 1st of the 19th Infantry “Swamp Rats”.

In the YouTube video, Richard goes on to explain how he uses the always free Vietnam Memorial Wall at Footnote.com to search for his buddy William “Glade” Henderson. Once he clicked Glade’s name on the hit list, the name is also highlighted a picture of the Vietnam Wall at Footnote. Options include “MORE INFO” where one can view Glade's public record info of name, birth date, home town, religious affiliation, enlistment date, unit, enlistment type, casualty date, casualty type and his age at death. There are also options to add images and personal recollections.

Amazed by the effort put into this collection for such a worthwhile cause, I visited the Vietnam Memorial Wall at Footnote.com, where I discovered the following one may also browse the collection by the following categories:

Facts about The Interactive Wall
At full size, The Wall image on Footnote is about 460 feet wide (400,000 pixels wide by 12,500 pixels tall).

  • Footnote.com found 58,320 names inscribed on The Wall.
  • There are about 70 names, which are duplicates or misspellings.
  • 8 names are women.
  • 2,056 are listed as "body not recovered."
  • Average age is 22.8 years old.

This is a marvelous use of technology in this modern day and age – to honor the men and women who served in Vietnam. Bravo to Footnote for combining information on each individual whose name appears on the Vietnam Wall, and for making this virtual memorial possible.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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