The first television magazine in Second Life, Life 4-U, interviewed three of the founders of the U.S. Military Veterans Center in early November, 2007. “Veterans Day 2007 in Second Life” begins with a segment about the creation of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Second Life. After watching their interviews on the completed program, co-f0unders HONDO Slade, Cowboy Wayne and Asdzaa Oh visited The Wall where they met the president of Meme Science, Evian Argus. Evian’s company had developed the technology that allows visitors to the virtual Wall to look for names and then “teleport” to the corresponding panel. Evian saw the Navy Vet tags and asked to join the group.
In September 2008, the U.S. Military Veteran group received word that a group member, a Marine Corps veteran, had passed away. Known in Second Life as Grunt Greenwood, this veteran had served honorably in Vietnam and had survived the Tet Offensive with the 1st Marine Division. During his time in Second Life, he had become close to a number of people, particularly fellow vets and especially other Marines. His countless friends in Second Life were determined to find a way to provide him with a military memorial service. This video records the first known military memorial service conducted in a virtual world. Those who participated in the Honor Guard remarked that Grunt’s services were of a quality comparable to those they had experienced in their everyday lives. And as it happened, when the call went out for help recording this emotional event, the services were recorded by the same videographer who had provided promotional media for Evian Argus and the The Wall. Grunt’s services were conducted at the U.S. Military Veterans Center at the Asha region in Second Life (direct SLURL teleport at this link) and filled three sims to capacity.
A reporter for New World Notes happened to stop by the Disabled American Veterans campus (direct SLURL teleport at this link) and found Gwill Brickworks, a Marine Corps veteran, in full dress uniform. He interviewed Gwill, who is one of the five co-founders of the U.S. Military Veteran group, around Veterans Day 2008. Comments regarding the interview reflect the impact the group and Veterans Center have on readers. One reader commented “Could this be a candidate for the Linden Prize?” Another commented “This is what Second Life is all about.”
Disabled American Veterans publishes a bimonthly magazine for member veterans and featured an article about its outreach to disabled and homebound vets through Second Life. Moreover, DAV’s web site includes a public thank you to the U.S. Military Veteran group for helping build the DAV area in Second Life.
A Second Life television news magazine anchor happened to read Gwill’s story in New World Notes and contacted him for a televised interview. Click here to watch. It seemed rather providential that two Lindens were in the studio as well to be interviewed about the Linden Prize. Both urged the Veterans Center group to apply. Worth U.S. $10,000 the Linden Prize would help the U.S. Military Veterans Center fulfill the co-founders’ dream to acquire an entire region. Presently, the Center is situated on about 9,000 square meters and struggles to provide information within the resource limits of such a compact parcel. The Center provides space and a prim allowance to Disabled American Veterans, The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the National Native American Veterans Association. Presently, Second Life land tier fees are paid by co-founder Cowboy Wayne out of his personal funds and supplemented from time to time with the proceeds of donations and fund raisers.