The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a two-acre national memorial located in Washington DC. It honors the service members of the US Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War, service members who died in service in Vietnam, and service members who were unaccounted for during the war. This wall is a breathtaking piece to see in real life, but have you ever wondered how the memorial was created?
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial organization was founded by Jan Scruggs, who served as an Infantry Corporal during the Vietnam War. He started a charity called the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc. and lobbied Congress for two acres of land to build a memorial.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund raised almost 9 million dollars for the building of the memorial, and they held a design contest to pick the winning design. The criteria required for the design were:
- be reflective and contemplative in character;
- harmonize with its surrounding;
- contain the names of those who died in the conflict or were still missing;
- make no political statements about the war.
By the contest deadline, almost 1,500 people had entered. The entries were judged anonymously by eight internationally recognized artists and designers that had been selected by the organization.
An undergraduate from Yale University named Maya Ying Lin created the winning memorial design. She is a native-born American citizen, but her parents fled China in 1949 when Mao Zedong took control. Her simple design is a park within a park, drawing the viewer in with the V-shape and reflective surface.
The Three Servicemen
This sculpture was designed by Frederick Hart, who was the highest-ranking sculptor in the design competition. The men featured in the sculpture look directly towards the apex of the wall, located a hundred and fifty feet away from it.
If you have never viewed the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, then you are missing out on an amazing experience and work of art. If you are ever in the Washington DC area, this memorial should be on the top of your list of places to visit.