The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located to the north of the Reflecting Pool.
The concept of a wall of names of those killed in the Vietnam War was developed by Jan Scruggs a Vietnam Veteran. In 1979 Scruggs saw the movie The Deer Hunter that tells the story of three friends whose experiences in the Vietnam war left them emotionally scarred and struggling with PTSD.
Scruggs identified completely with this struggle and eventually raised $8,000,000 in private funds to build a Vietnam Veterans Memorial identifying the names of those who died or were missing in Vietnam. The 2 acres of land for the memorial to these men and women was identified by Congress in 1980.
In 1981 the design competition for the memorial was won by a 21-year-old female college student, Maya Lin. By 1984 an additional feature was added: a bronze statue of The Three Soldiers by Frederick Hart. In 1993 a third element, an in-the-round statuary composition Faith, Hope and Charity by Glenna Goodacre was added to honor the nurses who served and died in the war.
There were 58,282 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2021. The average age of those killed or missing is 19. The names are NOT in alpha order but in casualty order beginning at the center top of the memorial. To find a name use the alpha directories posted at the entrances to the Wall or go online to www.vvmf.org where you will find the panel number and row number of your soldier’s name. Most days Park Service Volunteers are on hand to provide paper and pencils to make a rubbing of the name.
This handy Google Map will show you where the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial is in relation to the rest of the city.