Our genealogy team love challenges – so imagine the reaction of Laurence Harris, MyHeritage's Head of Genealogy (UK), when he was shown a 66-year-old Memorial Board commemorating the names of Servicemen who had died in WWII.
The board had been hidden in a rarely-used storage area for more than 30 years.
The challenge was on! Laurence volunteered to trace living family members of the men so that they could be invited to a special service to remember and honor them and to rededicate the Board.
Laurence took this as both a personal and professional challenge. He recognized the importance of learning about these forgotten heroes of the past, enabling the present generation to honor them, and ensuring that their stories are preserved for future generations.
Along the way, he discovered many interesting stories. Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing with you some of these stories and explaining how Laurence managed to trace the descendants.
Do you have stories to share about unsung war heroes in your family? Let us know in the comments below, and email relevant photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Today is Memorial Day in the US.
Over the weekend, flags fly at half-mast, graves are decorated with flowers and family members pay their respects at national cemeteries. Ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers - of all wars and conflicts - take place across the country.
In many places, Boy Scout Troops - as part of their commitment to community service - place flags on each soldier’s grave.
See below two newspaper articles on the holiday, from the New York Sun (May 31, 1872) and the Hawaiian Gazette (May 30, 1911). Click on each article image to see the original page from the Library of Congress' Chronicling America site, and learn more.
The day was first observed in 1865 to remember fallen Civil War soldiers; it was then called Decoration Day.
As many of you may know, yesterday the United States celebrated Memorial Day. It is annually celebrated the last Monday in May to commemorate soldiers who have died in service. Flags are flown at half-mast from dawn until noon, while volunteers distribute small flags to gravestones in national cemeteries. A national moment of remembrance is taken at 3 P.M. local time.