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It's the most-visited memorial on the National Mall in Washington, attracting more than 5 million people each year – the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The most prominent feature of the memorial is a massive wall that lists the names of the more than 58,000 servicemen and women who lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

The memorial also features the Three Servicemen statue, the Vietnam Women's Memorial, the In Memory plaque, and a flagpole with an etching of the insignia of what were then the country's five military branches.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall was dedicated on Veterans Day in 1982, fulfilling one veteran's promise to never forget those who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall was dedicated on Veterans Day in 1982, fulfilling one veteran's promise to never forget those who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War.

Design Facts about the Wall

The key element of architect Maya Lin's design is the shiny black granite wall in a wide "V" shape that continues to be a symbol of enduring legacy, healing and education.

The two 200-foot-long sections that make up the wall contain more than 58,000 names.

One section of the wall is directed toward the Lincoln Memorial, and the other is toward the Washington Monument.

Seventy separate panels make up each section of the "V" shape.

The veterans' names are listed in chronological order by date of their death and begin and end at the center of the memorial where the two sections meet.

Having the names begin and end at the center is meant to form a circle - a completion to the war.

The faces of visitors are reflected in the wall, connecting with those who died in combat or are listed as missing in action.

The Story Behind the Wall

Keeping watch over the wall are three figures in a statue honoring those who fought and returned from the war. The Three Servicemen Statue was unveiled on Veterans Day in 1984, two years after the wall was dedicated. The servicemen depicted in the sculpture stand 7 feet tall upon a base that is a foot tall. Artist Frederick Hart used patina to give the bronze statue some color variation.

Keeping watch over the wall are three figures in a statue honoring those who fought and returned from the war. The Three Servicemen Statue was also unveiled on Veterans Day in 1984, two years after the wall was dedicated. The servicemen depicted in the sculpture stand 7 feet tall upon a base that is a foot tall. Artist Frederick Hart used patina to give the bronze statue some color variations.

Not far away in another grove of eight trees is a sculpture of three servicewomen caring for a wounded soldier – the Vietnam Women's Memorial.

Dedicated in 1993, it honors the contributions of women in the Vietnam War.

In the sculpture, a nurse sits on sandbags holding a wounded serviceman while another searches the sky for help – perhaps a helicopter airlift. A third kneels behind the sandbags, holding a helmet in her hand.

Artist Glenna Goodacre said the young serviceman is saved by the actions of these women - in a monument to the living.

Not far away in another grove of eight trees is a sculpture of three service women caring for a wounded soldier: the Vietnam Women's Memorial.

Dedicated in 1993, it honors the contribution of women in the Vietnam War.

In the sculpture, a nurse sits on sandbags holding a wounded serviceman while another searches the sky for help - perhaps a helicopter airlift. A third kneels behind the sandbags, holding a helmet in her hand.

Artist Glenna Goodacre said the young serviceman is saved by the actions of these women - in a monument to the living.

Women During the War

More than 265,000 women served during the Vietnam War.

About 11,000 women were stationed in Vietnam and roughly 90% were nurses.

Women also served as physicians, air traffic controllers, communication specialists and intelligence officers.

Civilian women worked for other agencies, the American Red Cross or the USO, or were foreign correspondents.

The eight servicewomen who died in Vietnam are listed among the more than 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

Fifty-nine civilian women died in the conflict.

Women on the Wall

On Veterans Day in 2004, a plaque was added near the Three Servicemen statue to remember and honor the sacrifice of veterans who later died as a result of their service in Vietnam.

On Veterans Day in 2004, a plaque was added near the Three Servicemen statue to remember and honor the sacrifice of veterans who later died as a result of their service in Vietnam.

Key Figures From the War

About 2.7 million U.S. service members served in Vietnam.

United States military involvement in the Vietnam War officially began on Aug. 5, 1964.

During the war, more than 58,000 U.S. military members lost their lives and 153,000 were wounded.

There were 766 prisoners of war, 114 of whom died in captivity.

President Richard M. Nixon officially ended the war by presidential proclamation on May 7, 1975.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency issues reports on accounted-for and unaccounted-for personnel and works to recover remains.

A Day to Remember: National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Flagpole base showing insignia of he Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard
Flagpole base showing insignia of he Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard
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Replicas of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall are sent on tour to hundreds of communities around the country to spread the memorial's legacy and taking it to those who cannot make a trip to Washington.

Replicas of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall are sent on tour to hundreds of communities around the country to spread the memorial's legacy and taking it to those who cannot make a trip to Washington.

Bringing the Wall to Veterans