"I don't know if Robert Barnett has any family or friends out there, but if he does, I want them to know that I wear an MIA bracelet bearing his name every day. He is not forgotten." ~ Christy Texas
This is just one of the notes that I discovered in the online Wall. On March this year, Footnote.com and the National Archives and Records Administration announced the release of an online interactive photo of the Vietnam War Memorial. In addition to releasing this unique version of the Wall, Footnote.com enables visitors to search the Wall for people they know and pay tribute by adding photos, comments and stories of those who lost their lives during the Vietnam conflict. Footnote.com started the project by contracting the expertise of Peter Krogh, a National Geographic photographer, who was given the challenge to photograph the entire wall. Creating this online version of the Wall required almost 1,500 individual photos that were stitched together to create one single image. The process took over five months and resulted in an image that is nearly five gigapixels in size. Despite the immense size, just about anyone can view the image on Footnote.com via an Internet connection. One Vietnam War Veteran says: “The Wall is more than just 58,000 plus names … many of these people were my friends. And now Footnote.com helps me create a remembrance of these fine gentlemen.”
Footnote.com has partnered with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to link the service records and casualty reports to each name on the Wall. “The records of the Vietnam War in the National Archives are essential resources for veterans to revisit their history and establish their rights,” explains Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein. “These extensive files are mined by scholars every day as they continue to interpret and understand this pivotal period in American history.”
Finding someone on The Wall is as simple as typing a name into a search box and letting Footnote.com quickly locate and zoom into the area of the Wall where the individual name can be viewed. Once the name is located, visitors can see the soldier’s service record and view comments, stories and photos that have been contributed by other visitors. CEO Russell Wilding says that the company is “about discovering, discussing, and sharing the stories of our past […]. We know that there are many untold experiences represented on that Wall, and we hope that this interactive version of the memorial helps those affected by the war by sharing their stories.” The site also provides a way for visitors to create a tribute page dedicated to the men and women who served in Vietnam. The website hopes that these pages become “a way for veterans, family and friends to share experiences and feelings about this event that has had a great impact on so many and that the interactive Wall becomes a means for healing and paying tribute...”
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).
- We 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.
- 6,301 images were photographed by Peter Krogh
- Darren Higgins used six computers to stitch 1,494 images into a single 5 gigapixel image of The Wall.
Click here if you want to visit the Interactive Wall.