Jan C. Scruggs, a wounded Vietnam War vet, studied what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder upon his return to the United States. Within a few years, he began calling for a memorial to help with the healing process for the roughly 3 million Americans who served in the conflict. After watching the movie “The Deer Hunter,” Scruggs apparently stepped up his activism even further, using $2,800 of his own money to form the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in 1979. Many politicians expressed their support, and the U.S. Congress passed legislation reserving three acres in the northwest corner of the National Mall for a future monument. All donations, however, came from the private sector. Bob Hope and other celebrities lended a hand with fundraising, and by 1981 some 275,000 Americans, along with corporations, foundations, veterans groups, civic organizations and labor unions, had given $8.4 million to the project.
Credits: Jesse Greenspan, History Channel
The Memorial was designed by an undergraduate at Yale University, Maya Ying Lin, born in Athens, Ohio in 1959. Her parents fled from China in 1949 when Mao-Tse-tung took control of China, and she is a native-born American citizen. She acted as a consultant with the architectural firm of Cooper- Lecky Partnership on the construction of the Memorial.
Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Maya Ying wanted to create a park within a park – a quiet protected place onto itself, yet harmonious with the overall plan of Constitution Gardens. The walls have a mirror-like surface (polished black granite) reflecting the images of the surrounding trees, lawns, monuments, and visitors. The walls seem to stretch into the distance, directing us towards the Washington Monument, in the east, and the Lincoln Memorial, to the west, thus bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial into a historical context.
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized.
Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E – May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W – continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war’s beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle’s open side and contained within the earth itself.
Credits: Written by Cpl. Beddoe http://www.usmc81.com/2011/06/vietnam-veterans-memorial-facts/