Internet memorials blossoming to remember war dead

A decade ago, it was enough to carve their names in granite or freeze their likenesses in bronze to stand against time. Now, the fallen of America's military are also being memorialized in electronic ether.

Since the war in Afghanistan began, traditional monuments have been joined by dozens of Internet sites that offer new ways to remember, honor or simply learn about fallen troops. Some sites are elaborate, offering not only individual stories culled from the media about every U.S. service member killed, but even the ability to do things such as figure out how many were lost in each province of Iraq. Others are simple lists of the names or a tribute to a single dead service member.

The sites are part of a growing pantheon of memorial sites to the dead of conflicts, natural disasters and other causes. Memorial Web sites about U.S. military casualties started popping up well before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A Vietnam site called The Virtual Wall was started in 1997, for instance. The latest wars, though, coincided with rapid growth in the popularity of the Internet and a trend toward online grieving led by digital obituaries.

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