The monument dedicated to veterans of the Vietnam War (or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial) is located in the American capital, Washington DC; concretely, in the National Mall, an esplanade that convenes a set of significant monuments of Washington DC in a green and beautiful area.
For those of you, who are not familiar with the Vietnam War, tell them that it is a war that took place between 1959 and 1975 to prevent the reunification of Vietnam under a communist regime. This War confronted China and the USSR that wanted to govern Vietnam under communism against the Republic of Vietnam that was helped by the United States.
The Vietnam War is one of the most famous wars of recent times due to many factors, among them; the participation of the United States in the war was criticized a lot. There was no military censorship. On the other hand, the hippy movement emerged against this War, since it was one of the most sounded because it was one of the first in the contemporary world. In which citizens were more informed, and still touched by the Second World War. And, mainly because many American men were sent of obligatory form since they were in age to do the military service.
The United States lost more than 58,000 people in this war, and almost 2000 more are still missing. For the Americans it is a critical issue, especially for the soldiers who survived as well as for the families of the victims, it is even debated before touching the issue publicly.
This memorial is one of the most visited sites in Washington DC, especially for the number of American victims who died in this War, and is visited by their families and relatives.
The monument consists of two parts, the black wall and the set of three statues.
The black wall is known as “The Wall,” in it are inscribed the names of all the victims of the War. The names are arranged according to the date they died. Besides, next to each name you see a symbol. The diamond is for those who died, and their body was found; the signs of more, for those who died and their body has not been found (if the body or parts of it are found, the symbol is changed to diamond). And, in the event that someone returns alive, a circle will be made around the current symbol, although this has not yet happened.
The wall is made of granite panels and reflects the faces of the people who visit it, the sky or the surrounding trees. The idea was from a former infantry corporal who served in the War and was designed by Maya Ying Lin, a 21-year-old Yale student.
To look up someone’s name on their own, you can look at the books that are right at the beginning of the memorial, and the rangers or staff in the area can leave you a pen and paper or help with anything.
The set of three statues of three soldiers– They are three soldiers sculpted in bronze, which were added to the Memorial by the idea of the soldiers of the War, to add something more to the Memorial, since the wall with only the names seemed incomplete. The three soldiers are looking to the right, and they have a rifle in their hands.
There are only eight women’s names on the wall, although in this War more than 10,000 women served. The most famous story is that of Mary Kinkler, a nurse who had the mission to bring the Vietnamese orphans to the United States, but her plane crashed in 1975.
Throughout the area, you can see flowers, and other objects left in honor of veterans of the Vietnam War, such as letters and clothes they wore.
In my opinion, the sculpture of the soldiers is a very realistic sculpture, but I think it is not uniform with the rest of the memorial. It seems that they are two different monuments, and although they really are, they commemorate the same event, so I think that they should have done something that complemented each other.
Regarding the granite wall, I think it is very similar to the Monument to the Veterans of the Korean War, but it seems very significant that the names of all the victims are written, and although for the families it may seem little, I think that they are also grateful for the detail.
Additional Information, Price, and Schedule
The Monument is administered by the National Park Service, like the rest of the monuments found in the National Mall, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
This monument can be visited without having to pay anything, in addition to being outdoors, most of the monuments and museums of Washington DC are free, which is fortunate for all of us who live or visit the city.
If you want to eat something, there is a kiosk just to the right of the Lincoln Memorial where they sell refreshments, chips, hot dogs, hamburgers and other snacks. You can sit at the tables they have, or take your food while visiting the National Mall monuments, but be careful not to spoil the monuments or with leaving traces of food there.
The visit time of this monument is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but the park staff only works from 9:30 in the morning to 11:30 in the night, to which you can ask for any information is needed (although I do not think many people go at dawn).
How to Get There?
To get to this monument, there are two options, and if you are near the National Mall or in the National Mall itself, you have to go to where the Lincoln Memorial is, and the Vietnam Memorial is just to the left if you look towards the reflecting pool. Or you can take the subway, get off at the “Foggy Bottom” stop, follow 23rd street in the direction of Lincoln Memorial and turn left.
The hair was standing on end because of the silence that is breathed around the monument. One of the most emotional visits you can make on your trip to Washington is, without a doubt, the memorial wall of the Vietnam Memorial.