We Will Remember
Behind the Scenes
My name is Connor, I am a 9th grader. I founded and run a 501c3 non-profit called We Will Remember.
I started the We Will Remember memorial dog tag project after looking at pictures from WW2. I asked my mom how old the people were that died for our country. They didn't look that much older than me. I'm 15. So many of them didn't get a chance to come home, finish growing up, get married and have a full life. I wanted to do something to make sure that they were remembered so I saved up money from chores for a few years to start the #wewillremember project. I am making dog tags from the information of those who died during our country's wars from the National Archives and am asking people to carry the tag or put it someplace that they can see it. That way someone is saying the servicemember's name, praying for them or just being actively thankful for the gift that they gave all of us with their service and sacrifice. After I saved enough for the first 500 dog tags my mom helped me to make the first order. I started by giving dog tags to people in my school, boy scout troop and contacted some local organizations.
To make the dog tags I first download the information from the National Archives database. I have to format the information into a specific format that the printer can use with the right information. This goes into an excel file. After this I send the information to the printer. It takes the company a few weeks to get the dog tags back to me. They come all together in a big box. This is how we get the cheaper price. Once they come back, I sort the tags. Each service member’s name is only on one tag. My family helps me with this part. My mom helped me make a mail merge file that I can put information about my project on along with some information about the service member who died. It has their full name, service, rank and hometown on it. I staple the dog tag to the paper tag with the information on it for that servicemember.
Over 40,000 dog tags have been made and most are either in people’s hands or in the hands of volunteers to find homes. Many have been given to scouts and middle/ high schoolers as part of outreach programs to help spread a sense of appreciation and respect for the sacrifices these servicemembers made for us. Since there is only one tag for each name I try to make sure that the person receiving the tag wants it and knows that it is making a commitment to put the tag somewhere they will see it. Lots of people hang them on their rearview mirror. Lots of students I have talked to hang them on their backpacks. My goal is for everyone- especially people my age- to be able to have a tag if they want one. I think that this helps people understand the sacrifice that the military makes but also helps people that aren't exposed to the military to maybe get a bigger sense of patriotism. Plus, it keeps the name of the servicemember alive. There are lots of monuments and big memorials but I think that it is important for every name to be remembered as an individual person too.
The tags from the Korean War have been printed and I am still looking for homes for about 5,000 of them.
My goal is to keep finding these tags homes as I begin to raise the money to fund the creation of memorial tags for the Vietnam War, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and then World War 2. The records for WW2 are not digital in the archives so I wanted to save that one for last.
I don’t ever want to sell the dog tags. I think that selling them would be wrong so I am very thankful to the amazing groups and individuals that have been working with me to sponsor the creation of the tags. 100% of all donations and sponsorships goes directly to the creation of the tags and in getting them to their new homes.