This Memorial Day will be marked in many different ways across America, some traditional, some brand new. In addition to local parades, memorial services and civic observances, there are a growing number of specialized websites that are creating a virtual memorial to the men and women who have lost their lives in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The most noteworthy one this year was created by one of the project managers at Google Maps. He's calling it "Map of the Fallen". The creator describes his work thusly:
"This Memorial Day I would like to share with you a personal project of mine that uses Google Earth to honor the more than 5,700 American and Coalition servicemen and women that have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have created a map for Google Earth that will connect you with each of their stories—you can see photos, learn about how they died, visit memorial websites with comments from friends and families, and explore the places they called home and where they died."
Visit the site here. To see the images and read the biographies, you'll need to have Google Earth installed on your computer or iPhone, or install a special plug-in depending on your web browser. There are details at the site.
There are other sites as well. If you have time this Memorial Day, you might want to visit these sites that are reporting the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan in near real-time. It's sobering reminder of the sacrifices that so many families in this country are making since the beginning of those conflicts.
Join all of us here at Episcopal Cafe this Memorial Day as we remember those who have served their country and especially all those who have lost their lives in that service. Let us pray that the day will soon come when Jesus will wipe away our tears and make wars to cease in all the lands.