There’s a massive difference between seeing a number, and seeing what that number really looks like.
This, for example, is the number 1,354 – the number of fatalities suffered by Marine Corps units in the Guadalcanal campaign between 7 August 1942 and 10 February 1943. And this is where they lived.
The colors correspond to branches of service and burial status. Red and light blue are Marines and Navy medical personnel who were identified at their time of death and burial. Darker red or blue indicates those who were identified later in the war. White shows those who were buried at sea. And black are the ones still unaccounted for.
The few scattered candles denote those men recovered and identified since 1970.
This information was accumulated and mapped over the past six months, using a database of USMC Casualty Cards and Individual Deceased Personnel Files. Every pin reveals more information about a serviceman – his dates of birth, enlistment, and death; how he met his end, and where he is currently buried. Over six hundred entries have photographs. There are neighbors, school pals, and lifelong friends represented here; there are also two pairs of brothers, and even a father and son.
Note: In some cases, the original addresses no longer exist – buildings have been torn down, rural communities have been abandoned, small towns have expanded, villages have been incorporated into larger cities. Some Marines listed a Post Office box, a main route, or a “General Delivery” notification instead of a street address. In these instances, markers have been placed as close to the modern equivalent as possible.