365 days of celebration


Vietnam Veterans Day

Posted by Brittany

As of last summer, there are 58,267 names listed on the wall, with approximately 1,200 listed as MIA or POW. All names are listed without rank, in chronological order by the date the individual was reported dead or missing. The only markings next to each naem are a cross or diamond: the crosses denote the missing, while a diamond is inscribed for those killed in action. Instead of running linear from the left-most to right-most panel, the chronology starts in the middle, at the highest point where the two walls meet on an angle. Chris and I thought this was particularly interesting — it seemed to emphasize the connection between the 58,000 plus names instead of the chronology of the war’s tragic events. According to wikipedia, this design was chosen to represent a “wound that is closed and healing”.

While we were in Constitution Gardens, we also visited two other nearby Vietnam memorial statues — the Three Soldiers Statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. All throughout our walking I was surprised by how busy the Gardens were, especially for the evening. But the cherry blossoms are starting to come out and this particular area, which is very close to the Lincoln Memorial and the reflection pool (currently undergoing rehabilitation), is a very popular destination. But apart from Honest Abe, the Vietnam Memorial is definitely the site that draws the biggest crowd. In fact, visitors leave many items at the memorial each year — ranging form a Harley-Davison motorcycle with the license plate HERO, to teddy bears, flowers, artwork, photographs, and military medals– and the non-perishable items left behind are collected by the Park Service every day and cataloged by the National Park Service museum. What stories — some cut short, others still journeying toward their close –those items must tell.

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting another local park for Take a Walk in the Park Day.

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