Sunday, June 19, 2011

Military Monday - Vietnam Virtual Wall Searching for Pictures

I was contacted via a comment on a blog post on my cousin, Michael Paul Brown who was Killed In Action during the Vietnam War.  Lisa Lark, a volunteer with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) asked if I would be willing to let them use Michael's picture on a Virtual Wall that the VVMF has.  I was not familiar with the VVMF nor the Virtual Vietnam Wall, but I certainly am all about having Michael remembered and I granted permission and then did some research because this not only sounds like a worthy project, but a project that I think most genealogists would want to jump on board with.

So I did a search on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's "Call for Photos" and came to a page on the VVMF website that explains their goal.  We all are familiar with the black granite memorial on the mall in Washington D.C. where every Vietnam service member that died is listed.  A beautiful and moving tribute. The VVMF has a goal of putting a picture with every name that is listed on a Virtual Wall and why not?  Chances are there is a picture somewhere of each and every service member.  Photography was in full swing by the 60s and 70s.

You can search the Virtual Wall by clicking here.  You can also use the search tool to search a specific region/city for those listed on the wall.  For instance, I pulled all the names of the service members that died from Killeen, TX where I'm currently living.  In the next few weeks I hope to be able to find their obituaries in the local newspapers and pictures in local yearbooks so I can add them to the Virtual Wall.  If I have time while on vacation back home in Pennsylvania, I may grab the pictures and obituaries from my hometown and add them.

Yearbook pictures certainly suffice, but how much better would it be to have family members and friends scan and submit higher resolution photos to use.  Only the best for our brave men and women who gave their all!

What I noticed on the website is that the VVMF calls on state and local veterans groups to get the word out about this wonderful project.  It is certainly fitting for veterans groups to help, but who better to have in your camp than genealogists!  We live to preserve family history and love our military ancestors!  Who better to bring this cause to our genealogical societies and ask that they too pass this message on?

Digital Rubbing created from the Virtual Wall

There are over 58,000 names on The Wall.  I know that we can get pictures to go with those names!  If you think this is a worthy cause and would like to help out, you can go to their website and fill out the volunteer form.  There are several areas that they need help in from big things like organizing a fundraising event, to much smaller things such as spreading the word.  It's a really easy form to fill out and they get back to you pretty quickly.  They even have a Facebook page that you can like and share!

There are so many ways to help out with this project!  Get the word out!  You can tweet this post or do a post of your own!  You can talk to the VVMF about how to help or you can give a presentation to your local society and recruit  more volunteers!  You can get out there and do some leg-work and get the photos on your own and upload them to the website or email them to Lisa Lark at, Martin T. Kobylarczyk at or the VVMF at!

You can check out these .pdfs for additional information provided by Martin Kobylarczyk, the VVMF's Outreach Coordinator Project Manager, National Call for Photos:

Education Center - Call for Photos

Discover Their Stories

Let every one of them be remembered forever.  Help to put a face with the names!

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