This Veterans Day Stories Behind the Stars will be launching our next group project to tell the stories of all US World War II fallen buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
We are starting with a list of 13,200 names provided by Arlington National Cemetery. Surprisingly, ANC was only had a list that included ANYONE who died from 1941 through January 1946. It includes people who did not serve in World War II. The final list of WWII fallen there is likely around 7,700.
Our goal is to complete all of these 7,700 stories by Memorial Day 2022. This will require 320 volunteers doing one story each week, which is 24 stories per person. Most people can research and write a story in less time than it takes to watch a Netflix’s show.
We appreciate the help of those who can only do fewer stories and are very thankful for those who are able to do more.
Before we start assigning out the names for people to write stories we are doing two things first.
Building out the ANC Database
So far we have about a dozen people who have volunteered to work on our ANC database crew. We could always use more help here.
Here are the main things the database crew does as it researches the ANC names in each section:
Tag all Non-WWII fallen to exclude from project
Add missing information for WWII fallen to database such as:
Home state, date of birth, unit, rank, service number, death location
We will go through these names cemetery section by section. Our ANC database crew will help create the most complete and accurate list of WWII fallen in Arlington available to the public.
We would love to have as many people help as possible. The time you spend is up to you.
Lining up Section Directors
For our D-Day project we had two great volunteers, Emily Ritter from Indiana and Jenna Rabtzow from Colorado. For more than five months they directed the efforts of more than 100 volunteers who wrote the stories of everyone of the 2,502 D-Day fallen.
For our Pearl Harbor project Jackie Menasco from Arizona, Allison Albert from Rhode Island, and Coby Crump from Utah are directing the efforts of more than 100 volunteers who are writing the stories of every one of the 2,335 Pearl Harbor fallen. By the time they are done, it will have been a five month endeavour.
We are not going have directors take on the task of a 7,700 name database.
Instead, we are going to break down Arlington National Cemetery into sections, starting with the smallest ones first. To begin with, we should be able to get through sections in as little as a week or two. No more 5 month commitments for database directors!
I have attached a map showing where the WWII era names are found in Arlington National Cemeteries. Keep in mind that the numbers are double what they will be after we take out the names that are not WWII fallen.
We welcome anyone who would like to take on a Cemetery Section Director role. People can manage a section, finish it, and get back in the queue to manage another section down the list.
Here are the main things a Section Director will do:
Work with ANC database crew to remove non-WWII fallen names and build out the database base for that section
Assign out names to ANC story writers
Mark stories as completed when writers report back that the story is done
Most of the time it will take less than one hour per day on average.
Anyone interested in helping with the Section Director role or the ANC database crew role, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.