Vietnam Memorial Statues Washington DCRoad Trip Stops . Washington DC . Washington DC
Vietnam Memorial Statues Washington DC
Six years ago on our Washington DC road trip, my son and I spent our 7th day walking the National Mall and visiting the memorials. The Vietnam Memorial Statues and Wall were a definite stop that day.
I haven’t gone far enough back in my ancestry yet to determine if I have relatives on the Vietnam Memorial. So we didn’t do any impressions or anything. We did talk about how many people we sacrificed that war.
We also talked about how the veterans of this war were treated when they returned home. My son was already familiar, since he’s a history buff. It was a surreal experience for him to visit the wall in person finally. I think he was a bit humbled by the experience.
This is another iconic stop in Washington DC. There were quite a few people visiting this memorial. It wasn’t overly crowded or anything, we had plenty of space to ourselves. But there were at least a dozen other people visiting that morning.
I did visit this memorial on my business trip as well. It was at night but it was well lit. I believe I was alone when I visited it at at night, I don’t recall anybody else being there.
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About Vietnam Memorial Statues Washington DC
President Carter signed legislation on July 1, 1980, to authorize the site in Constitution Gardens for the Vietnam Memorial. It is located slightly northeast of the Lincoln Memorial.
The funds for the memorial came from the Vietnam Memorial Fund, Inc. The non-profit group was established by Jan Scruggs and a group of fellow Vietnam veterans on April 27, 1979.
A contest determined the design for the memorial. The entries needed to be:
- Reflective and contemplative in nature
- Harmonious with its surroundings
- Designed to contain the names of those fallen and missing
- Devoid of political statements
A Yale undergraduate, Maya Yin, designed the wall as a class project. It won, though it was controversial because of how untraditional it was. Two 246-foot walls of polished black granite hold inscriptions of the 58,261 names of the Vietnam veterans that are missing or that lost their lives.
The idea was for it to appear to be a scar on the earth; to feel like you are walking into the grave, evoking feelings of pain and death. The statues of the 3 Servicemen were added in 1984 with an American flag to appease critics. Later, the Women’s Memorial was added.
Despite the controversy, this memorial has become one of the most famous and emotional locations on the National Mall. May visitors have left mementos at the memorial, many of which are displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum.
Located in the National Mall at 5 Henry Bacon Drive NW, the memorial is free to visit and open 24/7/365. Phone: (202) 426-6841.
I think the statues were probably my son’s favorite part of this memorial. He collects figurines of soldiers. I think he might even have a figurine of this memorial already.
Being a military brat, he’s very patriotic and a total history buff. So these memorials were right up his alley, mine as well.
Have you been there? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Do you have relatives on the wall?
Please drop a few lines in the comments box below and let me know how your visit went.
In the meantime, safe travels!
P.S. If you happen to use travel journals, be sure to check out the travel journal I created for my future Washington DC Road Trips.
Written by Kris M.
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