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Tuesday
Jan252011

Reservist Creates Facebook's Wall of Honor for Fallen Soldiers

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Since 2001, nearly 6,000 American service members have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael Pratt, an Air Force reservist, has made it his mission to turn these statistics into stories, so that no soldier is forgotten.

Pratt created the Wall of Honor page on Facebook, a virtual memorial to those who have paid the ultimate price. Pratt started the page in November 2009, and it now has more than 19,000 followers, and 11 volunteers who write comprehensive tributes for each of the fallen.

The volunteer writers, led by Pat Shoukry, receive the Department of Defense's notification for every service member killed in action. They wait a week and undertake their own research, which includes reaching out to family members and friends, reading local notices and newspaper articles, and finding pictures. Then they "write from the heart," said Pratt.

"I'm hoping and praying that it will help the families get a little bit of peace," said Pratt, "that our wall is a place where they can talk to others and have a shoulder to cry on." Pratt himself comes from a military family -- his father and an older brother served in the Navy, and another brother, in the Army.

Audrey Shaw, who lost her husband, SSG Eric Shaw, in Afghanistan, said the Wall of Honor is special because it memorializes every soldier, not only a select few.

"On this site, everyone's included, no matter what military branch, race, color or creed. They are all heroes and they are all honored," Shaw wrote in an e-mail to ABC News.

"We have friends from all over the country and world who were not able to come to his funeral to honor him, and by having this page, they are able to honor him and show support no matter where they are."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio