Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Panel of Names

Close-up of Names

Searching for Names

Touching the Memorial

Items Left at the Memorial

An overhead view

Google Map Link: HERE

Maya Lin, Biography, Nov 2015

Lin’s Submission (with text)

Her memorial proved to be a pilgrimage site for those who served in the war and those who had loved ones who fought in Vietnam. It became a sacred place of healing and reverence as she intended. Not even three years after the memorial opened, the New York Times reported it was “something of a surprise is how quickly America has overcome the divisions caused by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”

Add’l Reading:  Jack Magazine, date indeterminate

The slight subtleties that Lin has instilled in the wall make the trip down the sidewalk an emotional one. As you start to walk along the path, the wall starts as a mere stretch of black granite gravitating near your feet. Slowly, it starts to lurch above you. It’s as though a tidal wave has come up above and is about to sweep over your small figure, but you keep walking, reading the names etched into the granite. Eventually, the wall gets to 10 feet high, and you are nothing in its presence. Your heart beats faster and faster as you continue to saunter past your reflection in the wall. Spread out horizontally (in contrast to the verticality of the Washington Monument to the east and the Lincoln memorial to the west), every inch and every name of the memorial is within grasp. The two 247-foot walls of the monument expand laterally, hugging close to the earth, depending on the landscape for support as much as they mark it as a site for human suffering and reconciliation. Finally, the wall relents, and it gathers at your feet once again. Never have you experienced emotion like this.

While writing about his personal trip to the Wall, a man named Broyles described the actual event of coming face to face with the Wall for his Newsweek readers:

It was as if a common emotion held back in so many private corners was all at once coming out into the sunlight. I cried too, more than once…As I stood in front of the polished granite I saw the names, but I also saw my own reflection. It fell across the names like a ghost. “Why me, lord?” we asked ourselves in Vietnam. It was a question that came back as I stood there: “why them?” (Broyles 82)

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