“The Wall is more than just 58,000 plus names,” explains Richard Schroepfer, a Vietnam War Veteran. “Many of these people were my friends. And now Footnote.com helps me create a remembrance of these fine gentlemen.”
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.
Footnote.com 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.” Footnote.com will also be digitizing National Archives photos from the Vietnam War.
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.
“Footnote.com is about discovering, discussing, and sharing the stories of our past,” says Russell Wilding, CEO of Footnote.com. “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.”
Footnote.com also provides a way for visitors to create a tribute page dedicated to the brave men and women who served in Vietnam, who may not be on the Wall. 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. Footnote.com hopes that this interactive Wall becomes a means for healing and paying tribute to those whose sacrifice and service have been under-appreciated for so long.
Photography Courtesy of The Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division