New features within the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM) platform give families of veterans additional ways to honor those interred in national cemeteries via commemorative online profiles. The new features are expected to be fully released by Memorial Day.
First launched in August 2019, VLM incorporates the digitization of 3.7 million veteran service records from the National Cemetery Administration and allows the families of veterans to directly access and incorporate moderated information about their relatives’ service, including service dates and military honors.
New features expected to be released by Memorial Day this year include:
- Ability for all users to upload additional content types including tributes, photographs, historical documents, service milestones, biographies and comments
- Display coordinates, maps and marker images using VA’s geospatial data repository
- Ability to follow a veteran profile and receive emailed updates when one is updated
VLM represents a priority among VA’s digital modernization program with NCA to create a new platform for memorializing America’s veterans. VLM allows veteran families to access commemorative profiles at any time, even if they were unable to visit their relatives’ resting place in person.
“Because of COVID, this Memorial Day is different. We can’t gather like we usually do. Yet we can still honor them. Still remember them,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough in a recent video announcement.
Since the platform's 2019 launch, VA has expanded the platform incrementally, including a substantial update on Memorial Day 2020 during a time when social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic enabled a push to more digital communication.
“When a veteran passes, what we don’t want to happen is for their story to be forgotten or their name to not be spoken anymore,” said NCA Digital Services Officer James LaPaglia in a recent VA podcast episode about VLM. “VLM was designed and launched to preserve the legacies of veterans so that family members and survivors can continue to tell their story.”
Since VLM’s launch, visitors have left more than 15,000 tributes, McDonough said.
Future plans for additional updates of VLM include expanding the database to veterans interred at state and tribal VA cemeteries, those managed by the military, private ones and more. VLM can be accessed by going to va.gov/remember.