How Long is the Vietnam Memorial Wall

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also known as the Vietnam Memorial Wall, is a national memorial in Washington D.C. dedicated to honoring the men and women who served and died in the Vietnam War. The memorial consists of three parts: the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

History of the Vietnam Memorial Wall

The idea for a Vietnam War memorial was first proposed in 1979 by Jan Scruggs, a Vietnam War veteran. He and other veterans felt that the war was not properly recognized, and a memorial would help bring closure to the families and friends of those who died in the war. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) was established to raise the funds needed to construct the memorial.

In 1981, the VVMF announced a design competition for the memorial. The winner was a 21-year-old architecture student named Maya Lin. Her design featured a wall of polished black granite inscribed with the names of the more than 58,000 Americans who died in the war.

Construction of the Vietnam Memorial Wall began in 1982, and it was dedicated on November 13, 1982. Since then, the wall has become one of the most visited memorials in Washington D.C., with over three million visitors each year.

Dimensions of the Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Vietnam Memorial Wall is a long, black granite wall that is 246 feet and 9 inches long. The wall is 10.1 feet tall at its highest point and slopes down to a height of 8 inches at its lowest point. The wall is divided into two 246-foot-long sections, each containing 72 panels. The panels are each 3 feet and 10 inches wide and contain the names of 137 service members.

The names on the wall are arranged in chronological order by date of casualty. The first names on the wall are those of service members who died in 1959, and the last names are those of service members who died in 1975, the year the war ended.

Visiting the Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Vietnam Memorial Wall is located in Constitution Gardens, just north of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and admission is free.

When visiting the Vietnam Memorial Wall, visitors are encouraged to be respectful and quiet. Many visitors come to find the name of a loved one, friend, or fellow service member on the wall. There are directories located at both ends of the wall to help visitors locate a specific name.

In addition to the wall itself, there are also a number of other memorials and exhibits located near the Vietnam Memorial, including the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

Controversy Surrounding the Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Vietnam Memorial Wall was not without controversy when it was first unveiled. Some critics felt that the design was too minimalist and did not adequately represent the sacrifice of those who died in the war. Others felt that the wall was a political statement and did not honor the soldiers who fought in the war.

Despite the controversy, the Vietnam Memorial Wall has become a beloved and revered monument, visited by millions of people each year. The wall has been credited with helping to heal the wounds of the Vietnam War and bringing closure to the families and friends of those who died in the conflict.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many names are on the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

There are more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, representing the service members who died in the Vietnam War.

  1. How are the names arranged on the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

The names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall are arranged in chronological order by date of casualty. The first names on the wall are those of service members who died in 1959, and the last names are those of service members who died in 1975, the year the war ended.

  1. Are there any special events or ceremonies held at the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

Yes, there are several events and ceremonies held at the Vietnam Memorial Wall throughout the year, including Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies, as well as wreath-laying ceremonies and other events organized by veterans groups.

  1. Are there any other memorials located near the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

Yes, there are several other memorials located near the Vietnam Memorial Wall, including the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

  1. Can visitors leave items at the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

Yes, visitors are allowed to leave flowers, letters, and other items at the base of the wall. These items are collected by park rangers and archived for historical purposes.

  1. Can visitors touch the names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

Yes, visitors are allowed to touch the names on the wall. In fact, many visitors take rubbings of the names as a way to remember their loved ones.

  1. Are there any restrictions on photography at the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

Photography is allowed at the Vietnam Memorial Wall, but visitors are asked to be respectful and not use flash photography or tripods.

  1. Is there a fee to visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall?

No, admission to the Vietnam Memorial Wall is free and open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  1. How has the Vietnam Memorial Wall impacted veterans and their families?

The Vietnam Memorial Wall has provided a place for veterans and their families to grieve and honor those who served and died in the Vietnam War. The wall has been credited with helping to heal the wounds of the war and bringing closure to those who lost loved ones in the conflict.


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