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Calgary veteran creates app to help honour fallen soldiers around the world

It’s a made-in-Calgary method that’s paying tribute to veterans around the world this Remembrance Day.

Ryan Mullens, the man behind the project, knows first-hand the sacrifice of those who’ve served.

Mullens’ Calgary-based startup is called Memory Anchor and the company has developed an app designed for use in cemeteries and military-related memorials.

“When you put (your phone or tablet’s) camera up to the wall it is able to read the names and then pull up information on that soldier, the bio and pictures,” Mullens said. “We’re trying to connect people a little more to who they were.”

Mullens was demonstrating the free Memory Anchor Explorer app along the memorial wall at Peacekeepers Park in southwest Calgary.

“We’re using emerging technology to change how we commemorate our fallen soldiers,” Mullens said, ”and it’s all with the purpose of reducing the barriers between the story of that soldier, that name on a headstone or a monument, and who they actually were.”

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The app now works in cemeteries and memorials in several countries.

“We’ve partnered with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,” Mullens said, “and they’re using it in several sites around the world.”

Mullens is a veteran himself, having served from 2001-2010 as a reservist with a Calgary unit of combat engineers.

“I didn’t deploy overseas, but I did domestic operations, like forest fires,” Mullens said.

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Staff at The Military Museums (TMM) in southwest Calgary gave Mullens assistance with his ‘Memory Anchor’ project.

“Just fleshing out (those who served) as human beings, because they all had stories, they all had lives before they went overseas,” TMM senior curator Rory Cory said, “and it’s good to remember them as their whole story.”

More information on the initiative is available at Memory Anchor Explorer.

“This is one of the things that we have to honour, that there is a rare breed of people willing to put themselves in harm’s way for what they believe in,” Mullens said. “If we can have a little bit of that dedication in our day-to-day lives I think we can learn a lot of them.”


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