Organization creates 'Find a Grave' app for soldiers

To make sure fallen service members are remembered, a volunteer group is using a new app to help those paying their respects at Arlington National Cemetery this Memorial Day weekend.

The group is called Stories Behind the Stars.

They're made up of over 100 volunteers from all across the country. Those volunteers have been working to research and create profiles of service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice during World War II. 

It’s a massive undertaking. Over 400,000 U.S. citizens were killed in the war.

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The founder of Stories Behind the Stars recently reached out to FOX 5 to tell us they are now using an app called, "Find a Grave." Over 2,000 hero profiles have already been uploaded for the over 4,000 World War II service members recognized at Arlington National Cemetery.

Once the app is downloaded, a user can go to the "memorial search" option and plug in the service member’s name and other information available on the headstone. A photo should pop up with a link to the hero’s biography.  

FOX 5 went to visit Captain Fred Brink Jr.'s headstone, which is number 703 in section MH. After typing his name and information into the app, his profile appeared explaining that Brink had enlisted after Pearl Harbor, broke his back during service, and still returned to battle. His plane went down overseas. The WWII hero was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.


"My greatest goal is to ensure that the individuals carry the same agency and the same amount of value and importance, don’t get re-written or written-over by these national narratives created," said Scott Rayl, who is the ETO special projects director with Stories Behind the Stars. "All of these battles, these events, were created by individuals," 

Rayl’s main focus is on repatriating those lost overseas. 

"I would love to continue to coordinate with Arlington so that eventually, once we finish it, I would imagine – I don’t’ know this, they haven’t said this – that they would also advertise the idea that this is a capability for World War II fallen soldiers," Rayl said. "I would imagine it would be something for a miracle for a lot of people. I’ve had people talk to me about, that have discovered pictures of their family members for the first time ever because of work that we’ve done." 

Arlington National Cemetery told FOX 5 they have not heard of the "Find a Grave" app, but are aware of the work being done to honor these heroes.  

The military cemetery also has its own app. It shows users the location of where gravesites are located.