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Fallen soldiers remembered in new twist on 21st Century grieving

Family, friends, fellow soldiers and complete strangers continue to eulogize soldiers online, years after they've died

Nov 02, 2007 - Although 29-year-old Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy of Long Island was killed in Afghanistan almost two-and-a-half years ago, a week scarcely goes by without someone – a friend, fellow soldier or complete stranger – remembering him ... online.

“I am 17, training to be a SEAL,” an unidentified teenager wrote Oct. 31 in Murphy’s online Guest Book on Legacy.com, the largest of the online memorialization Websites. “Lt. Murphy is pure inspiration. A role model, and a man who I respect with all my heart. You will not be forgotten, Lieutenant.”

Many Websites have been created to remember fallen soldiers. Legacy.com created a free-of-charge section, called “In Remembrance”, which features profiles of all of the more than 3,800 soldiers killed to-date in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 400 families have enhanced the profiles by adding photographs, music and voice narration. Individuals have penned almost 200,000 entries in the online Guest Books that accompany each profile. (The section overall has garnered 7 million page views to-date.)

These profiles and their accompanying online Guest Books are incredibly moving and frequently written by fellow soldiers, parents, friends, siblings and spouses.

Traffic Surges Over Holidays Like Veterans Day (Nov. 11)

With the death toll climbing in Iraq, a record number of Americans are expected to flock to military memorial sites on the Veterans Day weekend (Nov. 10-11). For example, Legacy.com's traffic increased four-fold over Veterans Day last year, and doubled over Memorial Day. (Unlike other online memorial sites, Legacy.com’s editors review all comments and photographs for appropriateness before posting them to the Website.)