The Virtual Wall is the name of this web site.
The Virtual Wall has memorial pages honoring the 58,272 women and men who are named on
"The Wall", the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, USA; those
military persons who gave the "ultimate sacrifice" for their country. The
Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington was built from private donations
collected by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
The Wall was dedicated in 1982, and completed in 1984 with the addition of the "Three
Servicemen Statue." Since its completion, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
in Washington has belonged to the people of the United States of America
and has been maintained by the
U. S. National Park Service.
This web site is not affiliated with the US NPS.
On The Virtual Wall,
visitors may leave tributes, letters, poems, photos, and other memorials
to someone named on The Wall for other visitors to view.
The goal is to provide an environment like The Wall itself,
with the dignity and respect those named on The Wall have earned.
There are no flashy or noisy distractions, no commercials, no fee to
publish a memorial, and no hand held out for donations.
Each name on the index pages of The Virtual Wall leads to a memorial for that person, a
memorial written by someone who had a personal connection to the man
or woman being remembered
History of The Virtual Wall
The Virtual Wall was
first open to the public on March 23, 1997 at a temporary web site.
On that date the phrase "The Virtual Wall"
was established as the unique trademark for this web site with personal memorials
to Vietnam War casualties.
Shortly after opening, The Virtual Wall was indexed
on all major search engines, had reciprocal links with many other Vietnam
veteran sites, and was added to the Vietnam Veterans Web ring. Anyone
searching for the words "virtual, wall, vietnam, veterans, memorial" or
combinations and subsets of those words would have easily found the site.
On April 28, 1997 the domain name www.VirtualWall.org was officially registered
to this site as a world-wide unique name with Network Solutions.
Trademarks may be checked on the web site of
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The Virtual Wall was
opened by Jim Schueckler, a Vietnam (War) veteran who founded
The Virtual Wall Association. Several persons who served
in Vietnam, both civilian and military, and several persons with friends
or relatives killed in Vietnam have served on its advisory board.
The concept of internet memorials to Vietnam War casualties was first used
on the web site of the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial, (an organization that no longer exists) and on the
Vietnam Veterans Home Page.
The leaders of those web
sites served on the board and helped to create this web site dedicated solely
to such memorials.
When the concept of
The Virtual Wall was first developed, several names were considered.
Before opening The Virtual Wall in 1997, we made an exhausive search
to ensure we would not accidentally copy a name used by someone else
for a similar purpose. We found the name "The Virtual Wall" had already
been used for a related
purpose: on Veterans Day, 1995 and 1996, Tim Duffie and Karen Asher had
a web site named "The Virtual Wall" on which were displayed,
a few seconds apart, each of the names of the women
and men named on The Wall. Tim and Karen granted to us their permission to use
the name "The Virtual Wall" for this web site.
In October, 2000, we discovered that Bill McBride had first proposed to
friends a project similar to ours, with the name "Virtual Wall",
although that project was never implemented and the plans not made public.
In September, 1999 another Vietnam veteran, Kenneth Davis
(CDR, U.S. Navy, retired: A6 "Intruder"
bomber/navigator) joined The Virtual Wall volunteer team and has since
made thousands of beautiful memorial pages and major improvements to www.VirtualWall.org.
2001 Channing Prothro,
a former Marine in the Combined Action Platoon program,
joined as the third volunteer on The Virtual Wall. In the year 2000, Channing
was the driver and site facilitator for one of the
structures of The Moving Wall (tm) and is the webmaster of
The Moving Wall's web site.
These three volunteers work on The Virtual Wall from
their homes in their spare time. Between them, they have about 70 friends named
on The Wall.
On November 11, 2000 The Virtual Wall began the
Faces of Freedom
project to collect photographs of all those named on The Wall in Washington
and use their photographs as a visual index that would lead to the detailed
personal memorials of each person. Small photographs from
Faces of Freedom are selected
by a random process for display on the front page of The Virtual Wall.
On April 5, 2001 Ken Davis added the
Height of Valor
index to pay special tribute to those named on The Virtual
Wall who had earned our nation's highest military honors.
On May 1, 2001 Ken added the
Current MIA Status index, updated frequently
and formatted for ease of use. Since opening in 1997, The Virtual Wall
had received many inquiries about the status of particular men listed
as Missing In Action (MIA),
which changed frequently as remains were found. The most recent information
was available on a government web site but in a form that was not
easily readable by novice computer users.
On January 28, 2002 The Virtual Wall became an "Official Partner"
in the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress. Every six
months, The Virtual Wall will donate a CD-ROM snapshot of the whole
website of The Virtual Wall. This places all of the photographs,
poems, letters, citations, and indexes into the history archives of our
country, ensuring their safe keeping and availability for future generations.
For more than four years Integration, Incorporated (IInc), of Batavia,
New York, provided the server, disk space, and bandwidth for "The Virtual
Wall" as a public service. IInc was paid absolutely nothing and they did
not ask to have their corporate logo on pages meant to honor the fallen.
Other costs to maintain The Virtual Wall came from the pockets of the three
veteran volunteers for more than five years.
To ensure longevity of the web site, on June 26, 2002, "www.VirtualWall.org, Ltd."
became a not-for-profit corporation in New York State.
The board is now working on the process to acquire IRS 501(c)3 not-for-profit status.
On July 5, 2003 Ken Davis was elected president of www.VirtualWall.org, Ltd. after
nomination by Jim, who had been president for more than six years. Jim is now
vice president and Channing Prothro was re-elected to the board of directors.