Saturday, 25 October 2014

Memorial Day Foundation's War Memorial Registry

As we in the U.S. get ready to celebrate the second of our two annual holidays to commemorate veterans, who served in the armed services, I wanted to review a website volunteers may use to upload photographs and information about war memorials into a war memorial registry.

Veterans' Day is observed on the 11th day of the 11th month. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed 11 November 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words:

"To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..."

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs, the original concept for the celebration was a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m., the exact time the armistice went into effect. An act of Congress in 1938 made the day a legal holiday. In 1954 the act was amended and the name of the holiday changed to Veterans' Day in order to honor service men and women from all U.S. Wars.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France,
wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on
11 November 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I
went into effect

I began photographing war memorials this year as part of Heather Wilkinson Rojo's, the author of the Nutfield Genealogy blogHonor Roll Project. The objective of the project is to transcribe the names of soldiers on war honor roll memorials so they are available on search engines for future genealogists and descendants to discover. Heather marshals her volunteers before each Memorial Day and Veterans Day then updates her honor roll page on each holiday. But I'm stealing Heather's thunder and wandering off topic...

In an effort to increase the possibility that an future descendant may learn a little more about the memorial on which their ancestor is honored, I also uploaded my war memorial descriptions and photographs to the Memorial Day Foundation's War Memorial Registry.

The Memorial Day Foundation is a tax-exempt not for profit organization created to increase awareness and respect for the holiday. The foundation provides flower bouquets when can be laid at war memorials across the country. It also maintains a website which is a crowd-sourced repository of photographs and information about almost any type of war memorial. home page

The war memorial registry is organized by state and then by city. Under each city is an index of war memorials, which are linked to a detail page about each memorial. Here is a sample of the index record for a memorial I added: War Memorial Registry index record

I began contributing to the Memorial Day Foundation last month. By in large I found it to be a positive experience.


  • It is easy to register and begin contributing. The website is intuitive to navigate
  • The contributions are moderated to ensure the quality of each entry
  • There are over 12,000 memorials listed on the site at time of this writing
  • The organization is extremely responsive. I received an email from the Executive Director the same day I started contributing to the website.
  • My user support experience was very good. I forgot to attach a photograph and received an email offering to post it for me if I would email it to the organization.


  • They do not accept Confederate war memorials even though the very holiday for which they were named commemorates both sides in that terrible and tragic war. This is my biggest pet peeve
  • Their information about Memorial Day under the Education tab is not completely accurate but supports their position not to recognize Confederate memorials. 
  • They do not have an online way for users to edit or correct their memorials
  • They do not have a separate field on the data entry form to list the names of individuals that may be listed on honor rolls
  • I am not a fan of Taps playing when you visit the website. I love Taps but do not like sites to make noise that I don't knowingly choose to happen
  • The keyword search brings back a lot of erroneous results

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