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Thousands of American soldiers lost their lives in the bloody and brutal Vietnam War. It is here at this towering black granite wall situated between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial that they are immortalised.
The wall is inscribed with the names of over 58,000 men and women – those who were considered missing in action are marked with a cross, while those known to be dead have a diamond by their names. As soon as you cast an eye across the thousands of names, you will be filled with a real sense of the scale of loss witnessed by the country in Vietnam - and of course by families all across the US.
Made up of two different walls rising 76 metres high and arranged in a V shape, with one pointing to the Lincoln Memorial and the other to the Washington Monument, this design is meant to symbolise the national division in opinion over the contentious war. The stone wall itself is highly reflective and is intended to unite the past with the present.
All through the year you’ll find wreaths, cards and gifts left by grieving families or even just by well-wishers that are placed at the foot of the memorial. Some visitors may even be paying their own respects to loved ones lost in the war, so note the hushed and considerate tone in the air all around the monument.
Close to the wall you’ll also be able to find other statues, the Three Soldiers as well as the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. These rather more traditional looking monuments were built partly to placate the concerns of some who claimed the original Vietnam memorial wall was too abstract.
The memorial is open all day every day. Between 8 a.m. and midnight, staff are on hand here, whilst at the top of every hour, you can take an informative tour.
It's worth giving yourself heaps of time at Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Below are the most popular activities:
Have a look at our Washington things to do page to discover more activities while you're here.
Located in Downtown Washington D.C., this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of George Washington University Hospital, George Washington University and Dupont Circle. Kennedy Center and White House are also within 1 mile (2 km). Foggy Bottom Station is 7 minutes by foot and Dupont Circle Station is 9 minutes.
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