A visit to one of the 135 national cemeteries can be a powerful way to memorialize veterans. But an in-person trip isn’t always possible, so the Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to leverage technology to move some aspects of the experience online.
As part of its mission to “memorialize veterans in perpetuity,” the VA’s National Cemetery Administration currently maintains a web portal called the Nationwide Gravesite Locator, which allows visitors to find burial information for sites across the country. But the portal isn’t particularly modern, so the NCA has turned to Challenge.gov with a plan for crowdsourcing ideas for an online memorial.
“NCA seeks to expand its interactive digital capabilities to better engage the public (rather than simply informing it),” the challenge statement reads. For example, NCA would like visitors to be able to leave comments, pictures and more attached to the burial profiles. Ideally, the NCA would like a memorial that encourages users to visit “on a habitual basis.”
Participants are tasked with proposing a creative, engaging online memorial feature or integration that can “invoke powerful emotions that resonate with The Department of Veterans Affairs mission to virtualize memorialization in a meaningful way.” The challenge runs through Nov. 30, and winners will be announced in December. One top winner will be awarded $5,000, while five finalists will get $1,000 each.
The challenge coincides with November’s National Veterans and Military Families month focus.
“This online memorial space will allow visitors to honor, cherish, share, and pay their respects and permit researchers, amateurs, students, and professionals to share information about Veterans,” the challenge states.