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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, USA

October 21st, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national war memorial located in Washington, D.C. that honors members of the U.S. armed forces who served in the Vietnam War. The Memorial consists of three separate parts — the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which is the most recognized part of the memorial. The memorial is sometimes popularly called the Vietnam Memorial, the Vietnam Wall or simply The Wall.

The main part of the memorial was completed in 1982 and is located in Constitution Gardens adjacent to the National Mall, just northeast of the Lincoln Memorial. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is maintained by the U.S. National Park Service, and receives around 3 million visitors each year. The Memorial Wall was designed by US architect Maya Lin.

Memorial Wall

The Memorial Wall is made up of two black granite walls 246 feet 9 inches (75 meters) long, designed by Maya Ying Lin. The walls are sunk into the ground, with the top flush with the earth behind them. At the highest tip (the apex where they meet), they are 10.1 feet (3 m) high, and they taper to a height of eight inches (20cm) at their extremities. Granite for the wall came from Bangalore, India and was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality. All cutting and fabrication was done in Barre, Vermont. When a visitor looks upon the wall, their reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. One wall points toward the Washington Monument, the other in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial, meeting at an angle of 125° 12′. Each wall has 72 panels, 70 listing names (numbered 1E through 70E and 70W through 1W) and 2 very small blank panels at the extremities. There is a pathway along the base of the Wall, where visitors may walk, read the names, or pray. (Revision, May 9, 2006) Pencil Rubbings are no longer allowed at this memorial. Unless you are a direct family member of a specific person and you have a park ranger do the rubbing for you, you will not be able to obtain a rubbing. Some people leave sentimental items there for their deceased loved ones, which are stored at the Museum and Archeological Regional Storage Facility, with the exception of miniature American flags.

Inscribed on the wall with the bodoni typeface are the names of servicemen who either died or remained classified as missing in action when the wall was constructed in 1982. They are listed in chronological order, starting at the apex on panel 1E in 1959 (although it was later discovered that the first casualties were military advisors who were killed by artillery fire in 1957), moving day by day to the end of the eastern wall at panel 70E, which ends on May 25, 1968, starting again at panel 70W at the end of the western wall which completes the list for May 25, 1968, and returning to the apex at panel 1W in 1975. Symbolically, this is described as " wound that is closed and healing." Information about rank, unit, and decorations are not given. The wall listed 58,159 names when it was completed in 1993; as of 2005, when four names were added, there are 58,249 names, including 8 women. Approximately 1,200 of these are listed as missing (MIAs, POWs, and others), denoted with a cross; the confirmed dead are marked with a diamond. If the missing return alive, the cross is circumscribed by a circle, (although this has never occurred as of August 2005); if their death is confirmed, a diamond is superimposed over the cross. According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund "[t]here is no definitive answer to exactly how many, but there could be as many as 38 names of personnel who survived, but through clerical errors, were added to the list of fatalities provided by the Department of Defense." Visitors can use directories to locate specific names.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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