…designed by Maya Lin, was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington.
“If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own.
And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.
Major Michael Davis O’Donnell
1 January 1970
Dak To, Vietnam
Listed as KIA February 7, 1978
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands as a symbol of America’s honor and recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. Inscribed on the black granite walls are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing. Yet the Memorial itself is dedicated to honor the “courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty and country” of all who answered the call to serve during the longest war in U.S. history.
The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Fund, Inc. is the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 1980 to fund and build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Incorporated on April 27, 1979 by a group of veterans led by Jan C. Scruggs, who was wounded and decorated for service in Vietnam, the organization sought a tangible symbol of recognition from the American people for those who served in the war.
By separating the issue of individuals serving in the military during the Vietnam era and U.S. policy carried out there, VVMF hoped to begin a process of national reconciliation. Two members of the U.S. Senate, Charles Mathias (R-Md.) and John Warner (R-Va.), took the lead in Congress to enact legislation providing three acres in the northwest corner of the National Mall as a site for the Memorial. It was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982.