Friday, 25 November 2016

Commemorating Your U.S. World War II Ancestor

On 11 November we in the United States celebrated Veterans Day, which was originally called Armistice Day. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed 11 November 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day when he said, "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 great 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..." The U.S. Congress created Armistice Day as a national holiday on 4 June 1926. The name of the day of commemoration was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.

One way to commemorate the service of an ancestor who served in one of the United States military services during World War II is to create entries for them in the World War II Registry maintained by the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

World War II Memorial in Washington, District of Columbia; courtesy of

The World War II Registry maintained by World War II Memorial seeks to preserve the memory of the service of the men and women who contributed to the war effort at home and abroad. The Registry consists of four databases -- three official and one unofficial:
  1. American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) burials in overseas military cemeteries
  2. Names memorialized on ABMC Tablets of the Missing
  3. Listed on War and Navy Department Killed in Service rosters held by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  4. The Registry of Remembrance is a compilation of public acknowledgements honoring those who helped win the war
Entries in the Registry of Remembrance maybe created by anyone. They are not checked for accuracy by any organization and may only be edited by the person who created it.

Registry Entry of Peter Charles Dagutis (1918-1991), my
father-in-law; personal collection

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans was originally founded in 2000 as the National D-Day Museum by the late author and historian, Stephen E. Ambrose, PhD, and has been designated by Congress as the official World War II museum.

National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana; courtesy of the
National World War II Museum

In order to honor your World War II ancestor, you must first become a member of the museum. There are several membership options, beginning at $50. One of the many benefits of membership is the ability to contribute to the name of your World War II ancestor to the Honor Roll of Charter Members.

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