Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It honors U.S. service members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam/South East Asia, and those service members who were unaccounted for (Missing In Action) during the War.

Its construction and related issues have been the source of controversies, some of which have resulted in additions to the memorial complex. The memorial currently consists of three separate parts: the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, which is the best-known part of the memorial.

The memorial was inspired by Jan Scruggs, an infantryman who served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army's 199th Light Infantry Brigade. In March 1979, he saw The Deer Hunter, which reminded him "of the people he'd seen suffer and die in Vietnam". That night he decided to build a memorial with the names of everyone killed in the Vietnam War.[1]

The main part of the memorial, which was completed in 1982, is in Constitution Gardens adjacent to the National Mall, just northeast of the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial is maintained by the U.S. National Park Service, and receives around 3 million visitors each year. The Memorial Wall was designed by U.S. landscape architect Maya Lin. The typesetting of the original 58,175 names on the wall was performed by Datalantic in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, it was ranked tenth on the "List of America's Favorite Architecture" by the American Institute of Architects.


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