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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Updated on May 20, 2013

Discover the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, known as THE WALL, as of May 2013, 58,286n the Wall.

One name - one soldier lost - is enough for a memorial.

4 more names added April 2013 to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. THE WALL is also scheduled for washing ceremonies by various organizations on a regular basis. This I would love to participate in at some point. Tender loving care of an icon.

The wall was 30 years old 2012.

Touch the wall, it touches you. So much pain, loss, grief, no words describe the gut wrenching memories of an era of confusion. For survivors - the guilt - for loved ones who suffered loss - the emptiness, for those who were aware, but didn't serve, so many questions.

My first trip to THE WALL was in 1997. We had planned to do 2 or 3 days of memorials in the D.C. area on a 3 week vacation to the East Coast of the USA, then on to Nova Scotia. Two up on one motorcycle.

The 2nd day of our trip we had a wreck just outside D.C. in Fairfax, VA. After 3 weeks recuperating in the hospital I made arrangements for my husband to be transported, via wheelchair van, to the closest intersection to The Wall. This allowed me to roll him up to the path.

Our first viewing wasn't that memorable, because, just going the distance from the street to the path was too painful for him physically. We had to turn and go back to the waiting van as quickly and comfortably as possible. He hadn't healed enough for that trek.

6 years later, in 2003 we returned, each on our own motorcycles, having ridden 3,000 miles from Los Angeles, CA to Washington D.C., with a group called Run For The Wall.

They said we'd never ride a motorcycle again, now we are each on our own bikes.

This page is dedicated to the wives, husbands, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, grandchildren and generations to come; all who have suffered loss due to the Vietnam War.

Those who observed from their living rooms, watching the war unfold on TV, and many who protested the war, those who served in Vietnam or other locations during that era, The Wall is for you. It reflects a hope and purpose: To leave a legacy for those who died, and bring a healing for those painful years.

We all say, "Welcome home," to those who survived.

"Thank you so much for the sacrifices each one of you made," to families of each of the names represented on The Wall.

To our veterans who never received that beautiful welcome home, they so deserved, America says, "Please forgive us."

The gentleman in the photo is a super friend who joined Run For The Wall several years back. He now serves on the Board of Directors. The Wall is an extremely emotional event, and an incredible opportunity for healing.

THE WALL Videos

Very moving videos.

Facts about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

The Memorial was a vision of the charitable organization, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. Incorporated in April 1979, several Vietnam veterans led by Jan C. Scruggs, a wounded and decorated infantryman from Bowie, Maryland, began the process of funding, designing and presenting this memorial that has become known as The Wall.

The Wall Design Timeline

11/79 More than $8 million raised

07/80 Three acres designated by Congress

10/80 National Design Competition

03/81 Competition Deadline 1,421 entries

05/81 First Place to Maya Ying Lin

08/81 Builders and architect selected

03/82 Final Federal approval of plans

March 26, 1982 Official ground breaking


There are so many web pages that are dedicated to the memorial. I'll be adding links to some great places from time to time, and if you like you can add to the list below.

Web Pages listing more information.

An official statement from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) incorporated on April 27, 1979.

"By separating the issue of the service of the individual man and woman from the issue of the U.S. policy in Vietnam, VVMF hoped to begin a process of national reconciliation."

From the Web page Vietnam Veterans Memorial

I knew the black granite wall was being constructed back in the early 80's, and I knew about Rolling Thunder and Run For The Wall long before we decided to participate in these events. The wall has 58,272 names on it. The eighth ceremony unveiled 6 additional names in 2010.

It was designed as a result of a competition, and funded by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Maya Ying Lin who was born in the USA in 1959 designed the memorial. The criteria for the design as stated on the Wall Information Page of the Vietnam Memorial Web page called "thewall-usa.org"

What were the criteria required for the design?

1. Be reflective and contemplative in character;

2. harmonize with it's surroundings'

3. contain the names of those who had died in the conflict or who were still missing;

4. make no political statement about the war.

2,573 entrants were submitted in the competition for the design.

Items at the Wall. - A long time ago the Park Service in Washington D.C. saw a trend.

Vietnam Veterans Wall Teddy Bear
Vietnam Veterans Wall Teddy Bear

The visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - The Wall were leaving memorabilia. The archived collection will be going into an Education Center and funds are currently being raised, with a ground breaking ceremony coming up November 2012 - 30 years after The Wall dedication.

Each year I have participated with Run For The Wall I've left a little something. It has become my tradition to leave a teddy bear since my road name is Sugarbear. This is a picture of my 2012 bear. He wears Run For The Wall pins from 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009, a POW/MIA Pin, an lanyard that has RFTW beads, and one that's red/white and blue. And beads in the color of service ribbons.

I'm so looking forward to the day the Education Center opens.

"It's a book out of doors." The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall - The designer, Maya Lin discusses the Wall.

It''s a book, out of doors."

The school children sense the "names rising up."

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

See it from satellite.

Life magazine featured the war in Vietnam, November 15, 1963

Exactly one week before President John F Kennedy was assassinated.

Other featured stories and cover stories in these magazines on Amazon.

FREE MEALS Veterans Day 2012

Veterans Day 2012

5 Days of the Reading of the Names

On November 11, 2012 there was a ceremony at 1:00 PM at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. It concluded the "Reading of the Names Ceremony" that began 5 days before Veteran's Day 2012, November 7th. This is only the 4th time the Reading of the Names Ceremony has occurred since 1982 when the Wall was dedicated.

It will take 65 hours to read all 58,,282 names.

We visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall annually with the event ... - Run For The Wall

RFTW Vest to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
RFTW Vest to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

This is my husband's vest, with all the patches he's earned through the years as a participant, riding in the event, and a volunteer in leadership. That's a lot of sewing, but it's worth it. In a few days we'll be adding a patch for 2012.

Welcome Home ... it's long overdue! - To the generation that grew up viewing newsreels of WW II troops returning to ticker tape parades;

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

To the generation that crawled under their desks during air raid drills in elementary school;

To the generation that watched their President murdered, assassinated, shown on evening news;

To the generation called up by the draft, or voluntarily joining the service and sent to war;

To the generation of men and women who returned home, many completely misunderstood and rejected;

I say, "Welcome home!"

My heart goes out to each of you, please forgive the ones who didn't understand and were so opposed and outspoken. Receive your healing by visiting YOUR memorial, The Wall.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in review 2011

The ground breaking happened 30 years ago. Healing began. Reconciliation of a Nation.

Offerings at the Wall

Offerings at the Wall: Artifacts from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection
Offerings at the Wall: Artifacts from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection

A shocking impulsive reaction to a slate structure resulted in offerings left by it's visitors. A culture who had to sort through the rubble of mixed memories, now has a landmark where they can each leave their mark. Mothers, fathers, wives, siblings, all relatives and friends of the "names on the Wall," have a location, and a visual aid that reflects a ray of healing with each visit. So they bring it gifts, treasures, tokens, of sorts. Someone had the foresight to collect the items, archive them and start an education center with the memorabilia.

 
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall names on the wall
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall names on the wall

Why do we get rubbings?

Where can I get a bracelet?

POW/MIA Bracelets

We want to remember the Missing in Action, the Prisoners of War and the deceased. These are methods that help the healing begin.

This is a bracelet I've had since the 70's of a man named Robert W Stanley. His name is on the wall, I have his bracelet, and my first trip to The Wall on Run For The Wall, I got a rubbing of his name. He has family, he's from Portland Oregon, born 1941, died, the day he arrived in Vietnam, April 1, 1967. Heart breaking.

Touch the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

It changes you.

Experience the names,

the stark black reflective power of the slate,

stand in awe of the visitors who parade by.

Without a clue, seeing it as a marvelous structure,

wondering what all the fuss is about, pause, explain.

Listen to the Park Service Tour Guide as he defines an era.

Pause.

Video - step by step how to find a name on the wall.

I took this picture of the Legoland Vietnam Memorial 2010
I took this picture of the Legoland Vietnam Memorial 2010

You'll appreciate this article in the UT San Diego News

Legoland San Diego has a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Go to this link to see the article.

Now you know more about Biker Ministry. - Now you know why we serve America's bikers and veterans.

After 20 years of conventional ministry, 11 years of nonsense before that, we chose to step away from the "pulpit" and go to America's highways and byways to reach the lone lost riders traveling the journey touted as, "finding themselves." We have met and prayed with hundreds of motorcyclists (bikers) over the last 12 plus years, and love every minute of it.

Who do you know who served during the Vietnam War?

You can comment and leave a shout out to a Vietnam Vet. - We are so grateful for your service to your country.

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    • profile image

      Ainul 2 years ago

      Laura - Good morning Will. I can't read your blogs wiuhtot crying. You are such an awesome writer. I am right there with you when you describe everything. The way you describe your pain and the struggle to weigh it against doing anything tugs at my heart. You challenged and mastered your body years ago and for sure, now, you are mastering your mind although I think it was pretty much mastered a long time ago too you are just making it razor sharp. I feel selfish when I say to please keep writing. Write more and more! You WILL publish a book some day; I just know it! I love you dearly!!! And there is lots of love from my parents too!

    • bikerministry profile image
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      bikerministry 3 years ago

      @Old Navy Guy: You are welcome. Thank you for your service to our country!

    • Old Navy Guy profile image

      Old Navy Guy 3 years ago

      Semper Fi and Thank you for taking the time to remember and to write a lens about our Veterans

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Bikerministry, I hope you and your husband have a great Memorial Day. And to all who served, thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Returning to remember and leaving a little fresh angel dust.....

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 4 years ago

      This article touched me very much. In so many ways I think a new generation has grown up not understanding nor remembering the Vietnam War. I just put together a lens on War Poetry and could barely find poems from the Vietnam War. Fortunately I own a book of Vietnam War poems so I could find some there. Interestingly, there are many, many songs written during the Vietnam period that are still popular today. In the War Poetry lens, I included a featured picture of Veterans standing at the wall will a reflection of fallen soldiers. It's haunting. Thank you for publishing this.

    • bikerministry profile image
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      bikerministry 4 years ago

      @Brandi Bush: I so appreciate this, thank you!! BLESSINGS your way!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 4 years ago from Maryland

      Wonderful page...I added this to my Celebrate America - Patriotic Lenses page. :)

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      My Dad served in Vietnam.

      The wall takes my breath away.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 4 years ago

      Wow, this is a wonderful lens you have here, I love it!

    • Bebopis profile image

      Bebopis 4 years ago

      I am a graphics artist/designer and I have a print called WAR that you might like it is on my lens it has the wall in :) very good site

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 4 years ago

      I paid a visit to the moving wall recently, and it is very moving, in more ways than one.......all those names.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      God save America! Happy Veteran's Day to all my brothers. May the peace of God rest in your souls. May His mercy be with our brothers who fell at our sides. Thank you all for allowing me to be a small piece of your lives. I'm a better person for it. And lastly, may God take our memories and cause them not to hurt as much. I love you, brothers and sisters. U.S. Navy....Vietnam 1967-68.

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      Very interesting lens on the wall memorial. Trust your trip this year went well. Happy Veterans Day.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      Happy Veterans Day and thanks for the tribute to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 4 years ago

      When first I visited the Wall, I expected to cry because I always cried when I saw it on TV. As my husband and I approached, from the very beginning of the memorial - that first year when the casualties were "few" - I did not cry. I was surprised. Then we continued to follow its path and read the names and watch the Wall rise...and the floodgates opened. My emotions were uncontrollable - we lost so much in that war: humans and, unfortunately, some of our humanity. I am so thankful that people like your husband (and mine) returned. I am so hopeful we will never have a memorial like this one again - only time will tell.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      I am thankful to men (like your husband) and women who have served our country. May the Lord continue to bless your family as you continue to serve in a different way.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My brother Randy served and returned to us, I'll shout out for him....and for so many others who returned changed forever. The wall always leaves me with tears, it does change us for sure and I have to say thank you for keeping us remembering....

    • Mamabyrd profile image

      Mamabyrd 4 years ago

      I served in the Army for 10 years. I had the privilage of visiting the Vietnam wall for the first time in 2000. I was in Washington to run the Army ten miler. It was such a moving experience. Thank you for a beautiful lens. God bless the vets that fought for our country and God bless the USA.

    • bikerministry profile image
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      bikerministry 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for your service, and for your faithfulness too visit and meet other veterans. And I'm so sorry for you loss. So many Vietnam Veterans lost their lives to service related illnesses. So horribly sad. I'm afraid history is repeating itself. We must share our memorial with those serving currently, until they have one of their own. Be blessed.

    • lonelyghostie profile image

      lonelyghostie 5 years ago

      I visited The Vietnam Memorial Wall on a class trip when I was 13. I still remember it being beautiful, creative, yet very sad for all the lives lost.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I went into the military in 1972 and made it a career, My brother went into the military a couple of years before me and his first assignment was at 141st HAC in Bien Hoa. Shortly after he came home he was diagnosed with cancer and some years later passed away. I retired from the service and took a job with a federal agency located across the street from the memorial and I take a walk at least 3 times a week to the wall to visit and meet other veterans visiting the wall. Such a somber place to visit. All should visit at least once in their life.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND WELCOME HOME

      IT GIVES ME GREAT HONOR TO be ABLE TO ESCORT THE MOVING WALL AND SET IT UP FOR VETS TO SEE

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      ~~~~~blessed~~~~

      Lost someone near and dear to me and went to the wall the during its' first week to leave a memento--well done.

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      I have been to the wall several times. I know a lot of people in my Gem and Mineral club that are V. Vets.

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Hey bikerministry, I am now an Angel and wanted to come back by your lens and spread a little Blessing joy. As I said before, you put a lot of working into creating an excellent tribute lens.

    • bikerministry profile image
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      bikerministry 5 years ago

      @ForEverProud: Such a sweet response to such an emotional topic.

    • bikerministry profile image
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      bikerministry 5 years ago

      @Rankography: Awesome, thanks. I'll check it out.

    • bikerministry profile image
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      bikerministry 5 years ago

      @Rangoon House: You need to make the trip. I heard they added 10 more names Mother's Day weekend, 2012.

    • bikerministry profile image
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      bikerministry 5 years ago

      @bdkz: The new Patriotic theme is a perfect fit, and I appreciate it!

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      bdkz 5 years ago

      Love the new theme on this lens!

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I visited all the Washington DC memorials in 1982, obviously before the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was erected. I look forward to seeing this next time, particularly as the wife of a Vietnam veteran. Blessings.

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Great lens. I am including it on my Best Lenses lens.

    • ForEverProud profile image

      Jeanne Rene 5 years ago from Northern California

      Absolutely wonderful lens! Thank you so much for sharing your information and your thoughts. God bless all our wonderful veterans!