("The Three Servicemen" —brothers in arms)
One of my favorite memorials in Washington DC is the Vietnam Memorial. I like the elements of its design and the way people respond to it. Perhaps it's because when the memorial was dedicated in 1982, the wound of that war was still raw, and it was one of the things that helped with the healing. It is the most frequented memorial in the nation's capital, with about 5 million visitors a year.
The memorial is located near the western end of the Mall, covering 2 acres near the Lincoln memorial. I begin this post with images of two of the "minor" components of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, the statues indicated in the photos above and below.
("Vietnam Women's Memorial" -- caring for a wounded serviceman)
The main component of the memorial consists of 2 black granite V-shaped walls inscribed with the names of the approximately 58,000 men and women who were killed or missing in action, the names arranged chronologically.
Each wall is almost 250 ft in length and varies from less than a foot to 10 feet tall. The granite blocks were imported from Bangalore, India -- chosen because of the stone's reflective quality. The panels were cut in Barre, Vermont, and the names inscribed in Memphis, Tennessee. To locate a name on the wall, catalogs are available near the entrances of the memorial providing lists of names alphabetically and indicating on which panel and row you can find it.
It is not rare to see people crying, talking to an etched name, or leaving small gifts and mementos at the wall. The National Park Service actually keeps many of these left items in its collections.
The memorial is always open and there is no admission fee.