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By Bruce Sussman
Tue | Aug 27, 2019 | 8:31 AM PDT

I've never met Henry Lee Adams, but I know this much: I appreciate his service.

Adams served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and passed away on June 26, 2019.

I only know about him because of a brand new digital cemetery launched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

I guess you could say I was introduced to him through Big Data.

Digital cemetery remembers U.S. veterans

It's called the Veterans Legacy Memorial, and when you go the homepage you'll see featured veterans who passed away recently, listed by name and branch of service. It looks like this:


A simple click of the mouse and you can learn something about these brave men and women who have served.

In total, the database contains the names of 3.7 million U.S. veterans who are interred at 136 cemeteries maintained by the National Cemetery Administration.

It's Big Data used to honor veterans.

"It is first and foremost a memorialization tool to enhance and extend the national cemetery experience beyond the physical boundaries of the national cemetery and create something so that veterans, family members, friends, students, history buffs—whoever—can then connect with that veteran tradition, keep community and share memories whenever the moment strikes them," Veterans Legacy Program Manager Bryce Carpenter told Nextgov. 

And he says it is designed to make sure veterans are remembered, forever. 

How can you search for a U.S. veteran who has passed away?

Not only can you explore featured veterans who have passed on, but you can also search for someone you know or have heard of.

Here's how:

  1. Visit the homepage of the Veterans Legacy Memorial online.
  2. A box on the homepage lets you do a simple search by first and last name, plus branch of service, by war, and cemetery, if you know it.
  3. To do a more specific search, click "Advanced" at the bottom right of the search box to search by items like these: date of birth, date of death, rank, and decorations received.

What's next for online Veterans Legacy Memorial?

The digital veterans cemetery lists features coming soon, such as the ability to post comments and see history written by verified next of kin. So there is more to come.

In the cybersecurity world, we know technology is often used as a weapon. It's nice to see the other side of technology in this case.

And having visited the site, I'm just thankful for the time it gave me to appreciate our veterans. 

Veterans like Harold Norman Bakken, who passed away earlier this month. I just read about the fact he was in the U.S. Navy during World War II. 

Thank you, Harold, for your service.  

Tags: Big Data, Military,