The Vietnam Veterans Memorial - History and Facts | History Hit

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Washington, District of Columbia, United States

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC commemorates the soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War.

Lucy Davidson

15 Jul 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, often shortened to the ‘VVM’, are a series of monuments in Washington DC commemorating those who fought in the Vietnam War. Originally envisioned by a Vietnam veteran named Jan Scruggs, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was designed by Maya Lin.

History of The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam War was a conflict in which South Vietnam was supported by the US in fighting against the North Vietnamese communist state. US involvement in the war, which started in the late 1950s and would continue until the mid-1970s, would be one of the most controversial military campaigns in the country’s history. Much of this was due to the massive loss of American lives in the course of the war. It would end in defeat for the US, marked in 1975 by the North Vietnamese capture of the city of Saigon.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Today

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is comprised of three parts, the main one being a mirrored wall listing over 58,000 names (58,261 names at the time of writing) of those who died in the conflict, in chronological order based on the date of casualty, and within each day, names are shown in alphabetical order. Names can be added by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and looked up on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Virtual Wall.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial also has a bronze statue, known as The Three Soldiers, as well as the Vietnam Women’s Memorial which is a statue of women tending to a wounded soldier, and which commemorates the 265,000 women who served in the war, many as nurses.

The memorial is free and open to the public for 24 hours a day, with rangers on duty to answer questions from 9.30am to 10pm every day. Interpretive programs are provided throughout the day and upon request.

Getting to The Vietnam Veterans Memorial

You’ll find the memorial located near Constitution Gardens on the National Mall. The closest Metro stops are Foggy Bottom or Federal Triangle on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines. Visitors can also get to the memorial via the DC Circulator’s National Mall route and Metrobus routes 32, 34 and 36.

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