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Vietnam Vetreans Memorial
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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited sites in Washington. Only a five-minute walk from the Lincoln Memorial, it is a stirring memorial to the almost 60-thousand soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a black granite wall inscribed with the names of 58,191 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. As visitors look over the names etched into the monument, the mirror-like surface of the smooth granite reflects the sky, trees and visitors themselves. If one places their ear upon the monument and looks toward the Washington Monument, the reflected images of the obelisk form a star.

Maya Ying Lin, a 21-year old Yale student at the time, submitted her design for the monument in a 1981 competition. Her winning design received mixed reviews upon its unveiling in 1982, but is now generally lauded. A statue of three soldiers by Fredrick Hart was added later to complete the memorial.

Directories are available to locate names inscribed on the wall. Families and friends can trace the name of the deceased and leave tributes. The National Park Service collects these offerings and stores them in a warehouse in Virginia to one day be its own exhibit.

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