ON-AIR: Site helps friends and families of veterans connect

By Dan Howell

With the current war in Iraq, and the mid-term elections still in people’s minds, The site The Virtual Wall allows family members and friends of fallen Vietnam soldiers to create profiles to honor those killed. Created in 1997, Virtual Wall founder Jim Schueckler says the site gives the soldiers a face to be remembered by.

“We allow those people who remember a friend or relative to make sure that the whole world remembers and knows about that person, so it’s not just a name on the wall but actually the memories of the person.”

Anyone who knows or is related to someone who died in Vietnam can log on and create a memorial page with photographs, poems, or letters. The site can be searched by state, so people can connect to those in their area. Schueckler sees these connections as the most beneficial aspect of the site.

“The most rewarding part is when somebody tells us that a family member and buddy of a casualty has met and helped each other heal from the emotional impact of losing that person.”

Schueckler says because of the site, people have exchanged e-mails, phone calls and even made cross country trips to meet with others impacted by a soldier fighting for their country. Veterans Day is meant to honor living members of the military who served during war and peace. This year, Veterans Day falls on Saturday, so banks and other federal offices observe the date tomorrow.

The Virtual Wall can be found at www.VirtualWall.org.