Americans are notorious for short attention spans but James Sperry hopes everyone can pay attention long enough on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, to honor the country's war dead.
He is hoping to get people to read aloud the names of military people who died in the country's wars on that day at locations all around the country.
Sperry, of Lebanon, who was a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines, was seriously wounded in 2004 when a rocket-propelled grenade glanced off his helmet, exploding on a wall right behind him in Fallujah, Iraq. He said his goal is to line up several hundred locations where people will read names to honor the fallen.
He is assisted in the project by his sister, Angie Wenke, who is handling publicity and the website for the effort, www.the-fight-continues.com.
Also helping is Eric Calley, a Marine who lives in Michigan.
Sperry said they have a lot of logistics to handle with the project but they are working hard to get people who can help.
"We're not sure how many wars it will include," he said, "but we're shooting for 1.2 million names. We hope to have about 1,750 names read at each location."
At eight names a minute, that would take more than three hours.
He said they have friends in the Defense Department who are helping gather the names.
"The records aren't real accurate the further back you go," he said.
He said they have around 35 sites confirmed. Wenke said she had just added another 30 sites and more are coming. The sites may be spread all around the country.
The idea came from a gathering in Missouri where Sperry and other Marines meet several times a year. They were talking about ways to get more attention for veterans' needs and honor veterans.
"We're trying to get some corporate support and get the word out," Sperry said. "I think people will be excited when they know."
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