May 25th, 2009
09:35 AM ET
13 years ago

Interactive tool creates online memorial to fallen troops

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="With the Google Earth layer, users can click on service members' names, hometowns and profiles."]
(CNN) - Each year on Memorial Day, tens of thousands of Americans visit Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington to pay tribute to the men and women who died serving the United States.

For people who are unable to make the trip, a new online memorial provides a unique way to honor those service members who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new Google Earth layer, called Map the Fallen, enables the user to pinpoint where, when, and how each service member died since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. A line connects the service member's approximate location of death to his or her hometown.

Watch: John King explains the new online memorial

The interactive tool - available at - also offers a detailed profile of each person.

Sean Askay, a Google engineer with no military affiliation who developed the layer in his free time, explains the project on his blog.

"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 Web sites with comments from friends and families, and explore the places they called home and where they died," he writes.

The layer works on a timeline system, so it shows each U.S. and coalition troop death chronologically, dating back to the first one in Afghanistan on October 10, 2001. The user can search for a fallen service member by name, age, gender, hometown, or location of death.

Full story

Filed under: State of the Union
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. katiec

    What a wonderful website.
    Thank you, Google.

    May 25, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  2. LacrosseMom

    So sad to see so many lost in Iraq, a war that did not need to happen.

    My heart and prayers go out to the thousands of families who have lost their lost ones.

    And to the thousands whose loved ones have been maimed, damaged or injured in the wars.

    Peace everyone.

    May 25, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. virginia nielsen

    I can't believe how many kids died fighting a stupid war !!! Bush and his terrorists friends should be prosecuted as war criminals !!! Post that CNN , as a parent I would like justice to be done !!!

    May 25, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. Terry

    The map is cute. The fading, yellow, made-in-China bumper stickers show some support for our troops, I guess, but not much.

    We sent tens of thousands of male and female soldiers to Iraq for no good reason, ending the lives of many of them, creating thousands of widows and orphans, disabling many of them, and changing the lives of all of them while we sat on our butts in our living rooms watching the war on CNN. Those who really want to support our troops could join me in calling for a tax increase to provide higher pay and better veterans' benefits for those who served for us in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We can't get by with just borrowing more money from China; we should do the stand-up thing and actually pay for these improvements with the money we earned while they were being shot at and earning chump-change for the privilege of doing it.

    May 25, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Andrew


    May 25, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” so they will be able to kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war

    May God bless each and every surviving veteran, the families and those currently serving, and the families that have lost sons and daughters in past battles.

    May 25, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” so they will be able to kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war

    Yes, and sadly the type of BBQ sauce or the amount of beer to be bought today will receive more attention than most of these "dots".

    May 25, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. S Callahan

    This a beautiful tribute the family and friends can go back to numerous times..reflect and apprecaite their sacrafice. Thank You.

    May 25, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Republicans are the American Taliban

    How many there from the Cheney family? Or the Limbaugh klan, or Hannity, or Glen Beck?

    May 25, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  10. Jayden, FL

    What a great website!

    May 25, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Peter E

    On behalf of all of America, I would like to apologize to these soldiers and their families. They fought bravely because our politicians, and we as a nation failed to prevent war. They died trying to clean up the mess we created. We're very sorry!

    May 25, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. I laugh at Limbaugh daily

    Soon we will use it to ferret out right wing antiAmericans like TCM and his ilk of paid bloggers.

    May 25, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Frank Hummel

    Marvelous. Now the actual reality of "our" imperialism is that much the more "sanitized" by "burying the dead" off in Cyberspace.
    Sorry folks, but it really is just not actually a good idea to try to get away with "virtualizing" lost lives.

    ANY "war monument" tends to TRIVIALIZE (by "legendizing") the individual human realities of all the people each of whose entire lives are reduced to some few regulation number of square centimeters of space. But at least with, say, "the Wall", there is something TANGIBLE about the memorial - and people can come to make rubbings and leave mementos decades later. THIS sort of "tribute" is as evenescent as the bazilions of pieces of JUNK MAIL that flies around on the Internet.

    May 25, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Franky

    Ohh and Happy Memorial Day guys! LOL!!

    Be good, don't listen to me, is just my crazy fantasies...

    May 25, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |