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Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall
Transcript of Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall
"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own.
And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.
Major Michael Davis O'Donnell
1 January 1970
Dak To, Vietnam
Listed as KIA February 7, 1978 The current number of names on the wall is 58,267. Designed when she was only 21 years old, there was much controversy over her design at the time being
called the "a black gash of shame" by a group of veterans. Construction on the wall began on
March 11, 1982, and was completed on November 1, 1982. Founded by Jan Scruggs, he wanted a memorial that honored the service and lives of all who served in vietnam. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund was the nonprofit charitable orginazition that made it all possible. Scruggs was a former infantry corporal in the 199th light infantry brigade from 1969-1970. Kallie and Abby Granite for the wall came from Bangalore, Karnataka, India and was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality. Each step of the wall process happened in
different parts of the country.
Stone cutting was done in Barre, Vermont.
Name etching was done in Memphis, Tennessee When a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. "As you walk down the wall it's just like a
fog of sadness, just like, ahhhhhhh."
-Mikayla Gerdes "The Three Servicemen"
Later in 1984 the statue and the falg were included to complete the memorial. VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL
What we first see seems a shadow or a retaining
wall in the park, like half a giant pool or half
an exposed foundation. The names start a few
to the column at the shallow ends and grow panel
by deeper panel as though month by month to the point of opposing planes. From that pit we can't see much
official Washington, just sky and trees and names and people on the Mall and the Capitol like
a fancy urn. For this is a wedge into the earth, a ramp of names driven into the nation's green, a black mirror of names many as the text of a book published
in stone, beginning almost imperceptibly in the lawn
on one side and growing on black pages bigger than any reader (as you look for your own name in each chapter) and then thin away like a ledger
into the turf again, with no beginning and no end. As though the black wall uncovered here a few
yards for sunlight and recognition runs on and on through the ground in both directions with our names on the hidden, lettered panels-while these names shine in open noon.
Art My dearest Paul
I finally got here--a beautiful monument for you.
I miss you--and I know you're watching over me.
I love you.
From a mother's letter on Memorial Day 1983: "I see your name on a black wall. A name I gave you as I held you so close after you were born, never dreaming of the too few years I was to have with you." Offerings at the wall Everything left at the wall is collected and kept at the smithsonian, except for mini American flags. There is a whole exhibit dedicated to The Wall. You can also take things from the wall, they have paper there and you can take pencile rubbings of names. My father told me this story: his buddy Frank convinced
him to go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in
Washington, D,C. I say "convinced" because ever'
since its construction my father had talked derisively
of the Memorial. "Pretty hypocritical," he'd say, "to build a memorial now after
they abandoned the war." Or he'd say, "I don't need to go to any memorial. I
carry one around in my heart."
A twenty-five-thousand-square-foot warehouse is taken up by the rows upon rows of steel cases, white acid-free Hollinger boxes, and rolling carts that hold the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection. When people first started leaving things at the wall they were simply put in a cardboard box labled "lost and found", they thought that this phase would pass, but it never did. The wall was so controversial that many political leaders wouldn't even vist the wall, including President Ronald Regan. "...it wasn't a big deal within my life. The fact that I go down there and I look at it and there's all these men down there balling hysterically." -Bandow The war was so controversial because a lot of people thought that because it actually wasn't a war, it didn't deserve a memorial. Hawaiian veterans arrived bearing a chain of orchids that stretched the entire length of the wall. Native American veterans have held tribal rituals there, bringing beaded eagle feathers, ceremonial war shields, and medicine bundles. Hawaiian veterans arrived bearing a chain of orchids that stretched the entire length of the wall. Native American veterans have held tribal rituals there, bringing beaded eagle feathers, ceremonial war shields, and medicine bundles. Designed when she was only 21 years old, it was called "the black scar of shame" by several groups of veterans. The wall is 246ft, and it 10ft tall at its tallest point.