The Wall
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (known as "The Wall") is a black granite wall inscribed with the names of the 58,191 americans who died in the Vietnam War. As visitors look over the names etched into the monument, the mirror-like surface of the smooth granite reflects the sky, trees and visitors themselves.
Maya Ying Lin, a 21-year old Yale student at the time, submitted her design for the monument in a 1981 competition. Her winning design received mixed reviews upon its unveiling but is now generally lauded. A statue of three soldiers by Fredrick Hart was added later to complete the memorial which was dedicated on Veterans Day, November 13th, 1982.
Directories are available to locate names inscribed on the wall. Families and friends can trace the name of the deceased and leave tributes to their comrades and loved ones. The National Park Service collects these offerings and stores them in a warehouse in Virginia to one day be its own exhibit.
Located at the bottom of the Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is the most visited monument in Washington for good reason. The black granite wall accompanied by "The Statue of Three Servicemen" and the Vietnam Women's Memorial create a somber and peaceful atmosphere that is conducive to reflection.
The same type of memorial in North Vietnam would be almost 35 times the size.