I will remember these things.



A dream I've had for the past couple years is to somehow build an online memorial to everyone killed as a result of World War II. It is an idea very dear to me, something always on my mind. I would go so far as to say it is one of the top three epic stories of human kind.

I looked up the government records once for all the U.S. soldiers killed during the war (about 295,000) and found that the format for them is abismal. Basically, there is a ledger kept at the capital, containing all the names, catagorized into army and navy, and then into states. To find the person you want you go to that  person's branch, and then to the state they were from. It gets more difficult from there. If you don't know what county that person was from, you may find yourself sifting through as many as thirty or forty jpeg image files, some as large as 350K before you find the person you were looking for.

My idea was to construct some sort of website
specifically for the purpose of listing the names of all 57 million people killed in the war. It is a rough estimate which includes the several million chinese and russian civilians lost, as well as the several million jews killed in Germany, and those killed in the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Realizing 57 million names might take a while to list,
given the sometimes slow speed of the html format for constructing web pages, I decided I'd try just making a memorial for the americans lost instead. The first step in this process was transfering the names from those jpeg files I mentioned earlier into some sort of word document, and then transfering that into html
format.

I got through Alabama, the state from which I began, and realized there are just too many. After two months I had five thousand names down, with 290,000 still remaining. I could not imagine carrying out the same task with 57 million names, not forgetting that records for many countries are vague at best. I got frustrated and gave up.

It is still a dream of mine however, to someday see a memorial capable of being visited from your own home, that carries the names of all those many people from every country that saw war. Taking place mainly between the years of 1936 and 1945, many of the men and women who fought in World War II are now dying. Their numbers grow smaller and smaller as each day passes, as does the conscious living memory of the things that happened during those decisive days. There will come a day soon when no one living will remember the War, as no one living will have lived through it.

My goal was not to glorify wartime-- or even to glorify those killed, soldier or civilian. I would simply like to see a list, continuous or categorized, of those killed-- their names, so that perhaps someone seeing the list would gain a firm perspective of just how large a number like 57 million is-- how many lives it amounted to. It is the only proper testament to the War my mind can
conceptualize.

Being a christian, I believe mankind has not seen such principle moments as those which occured in World War II since Jesus Christ walked upon the earth. It is still my dream, and my hope, that a vivid collective memory of those events will be carried on in the minds and the hearts of the people of this Earth, beyond that one generation, and that we will be reminded of those young men and women, the brave and frightened children of that terrible age, and their selfless sacrifices the second time the world was saved.

- Written in September, 2004



Since the above was written, a national online registry has been created, and you can view it at the National World War II Memorial website.