Here’s a way to honor the World War II veteran in your family: Get his or her name on the permanent registry of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., for all to see. You can do it online or by snail mail for free, or $10 if you want to include a photo.
I’ve posted my dad, my father-in-law and two uncles on the website, and I have several more uncles to include. (You don’t have to be a relative, by the way.) It’s easy. To start, go to the National WWII Memorial site, http://www.wwiimemorial.com/.
In the middle of the home page, you’ll see “World War II Registry” and the message: “To search the electronic World War II Registry of Americans who contributed to the war effort, or add the name of a loved one, click here.” So click.
On the Registry page, click on “Register an Honoree.” You’ll have an option to register by mail by printing out a form or to register electronically. If you’re doing the latter, you’ll be prompted to fill out your name, address and e-mail address so your entry can be processed. This is a one-time deal. Once you are signed up and have an account number, you don’t have to repeat the set-up.
The site will prompt you for the name of your honoree, his or her hometown, rank and branch of service. But you’re not limited to that information. In fact, to really do it up right, get your relative’s service paperwork – a discharge certificate or DD-214, a summary of service at discharge. If your relative isn’t living and you don’t know where to find the paperwork, ask around in your family.
For my dad and relatives, I used the info from their discharge papers to give a complete picture – in my dad’s case, his rank in the Coast Guard, when and where he enlisted, where he trained, where he was assigned, the ships he served on, the medals he received and when he was discharged.
After you enter the info, you have to wait a few days while it’s reviewed. (You’ll see that your name, as the source, and your relationship to the honoree is listed on the page.) Then you’ll get an e-mail and an option to upload a photo, which you can do for $10. Again, you have to wait a few days.
Here’s the entry on my dad: http://www.wwiimemorial.com/registry/search/pframe.asp?HonoreeID=2174327&popcount=1&tcount=1
As you can see, it’s a handsome and dignified presentation.
You can always go back and edit the material, if you want to add or take out information. To just look at an entry, click “Search the Registry” and fill out the prompt. If you click on the “Advanced Search” tab, you can look up the postings on everyone from your relative’s hometown.
This celebration of service is a fitting tribute to any family member or friend who had a role in the most momentous war in history.