Monday, May 29, 2017

How I Find Memorials for the Honor Roll Project

My husband and I enjoy car trips. In fact, when he retires, we are driving the loop across the contiguous 48 states, stopping at places we have not yet visited. It's not that we are afraid to fly. Pete has been flying to commute to work every week since 2013 and I just hate being treated like cattle or held captive in a hot plane. So whenever possible we drive. Since we began participating in Heather Rojo's Honor Roll Project, we've taken the road less traveled and discovered some truly quaint small towns, wonderful eateries, and talked to many interesting strangers. So how do I find all the honor roll memorials we photograph and transcribe?

World War II Honor Roll, Frederick, Maryland, personal collection
(I still transcribing this one; there are names on the back, too!)

Once we've determine the basic route of our trip, I look for honor roll memorials along the way. I use two main resources:
  1. Memorial Day Foundation -- The War Memorial Registry is a crowdsourced database of veteran and war related monuments and memorials across the country. Just don't try to enter a Confederate memorial; they will delete it. To find honor rolls, I navigate in the following manner: Memorials >> War Memorial Registry >> Search Registry. Then I select the state for which I am interested and scroll down to the Type of Memorial Search dropdown and select War Memorial Honor Roll Plaques and Panels and Stones. 
  2. -- This is another crowdsourced website. Unfortunately, it does not have a category for honor rolls, but I've found entering "Honor Roll" in the Find Waymark search box works most of the time. Unfortunately, I have not yet figured out how to search by state or county as the Near Location search requires an address or postal code. So you will have many, many search results to wade through.
  3. American Memorials Directory -- (Thank you Rob Gumlaw!) This is a database of all types of memorials in the U.S. I select a state and scroll through the listing to determine if there are any honor rolls in the state through which we plan to travel.
Before I finish searching, I'll Google Search the names of the towns along our route along with the keywords "Honor Roll." I'm always surprised at what I learn. Next, I check the list of honor roll memorials I've compiled against Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Honor Roll Project website. If someone else has already photographed and transcribed the memorials, I cross that possibility off my list.

Then, I use Google maps to locate the city or town in which the memorials I found on my two main sources are located to determine how close they are to our route of travel and select likely candidates to photograph and transcribe. If we stop to photograph a memorial when we are hungry, I use TripAdvisor to find a highly rated place to eat.

Heather's Honor Roll Project has enriched our travel experiences and enabled us to honor our veterans in some small way. I hope you will consider contributing, too.


  1. Schalene, my husband and I enjoy traveling together, too. However, at the present time, we don't have a lot of time for that. This sounds like you both enjoy this project. Thank you for sharing your time on this project, so that the rest of us know more about our veterans and our fallen.

    1. Thank you, Diane. We certainly gained more time for this project after I retired. My husband travels a lot for work so I often go with him and we photograph the honor rolls along the way.

  2. Now that I've retired, I hope to plan more trips and I've love to travel the entire 48 states, but not sure if I can be away for a long length of time like that. We don't like to fly for pretty much the same reasons as you and we love seeing the country and finding those out of the way sights that you'll not see from a plane.