Vietnam War memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at night
Canon PowerShot S95
2018

I’m not easily moved by memorials, but the Vietnam Veterans Memorial brought me to tears the first time I saw it.

That was on my first visit to Washington, DC, in 1993. I was small when the Vietnam conflict ended. My main memories of it are the news bulletins that kept interrupting Captain Kangaroo, telling of cease fires as the conflict sputtered to its end. I hadn’t even a vague idea of how this war split our country. I didn’t learn of it until middle-school history class, and by then it was 1980.

But to see the names, in excess of 58,000 — it brought directly home to me what an enormous loss this conflict created in our country.

Last updated on 14 March 2020 by Jim Grey

Photography, Travel

single frame: Vietnam Veterans Memorial at night

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12 thoughts on “single frame: Vietnam Veterans Memorial at night

  1. Heide says:

    Everyone I know who has visited this memorial echoes your sentiments, Jim. What a tragic period in our country’s history.

  2. Scott Bennett says:

    I visited the memorial in 1995. I bawled my eyes out from one end to the other and back again.

  3. The first time I saw the memorial was at night and I recall being very impressed with the flashlight carrying volunteers who happily helped find names and make rubbings. The impression made by the monument itself is without equal in my experience.

    You may have already seen my take on the Ken Burns series that Heide recommends (and so do I) but I’ll share a pointer here anyway: http://www.dennygibson.com/blog/2017/10/movie-review-the-vietnam-war-ken-burns-lynn-novick/

    • This memorial really is surprising in how moving it is. I’ve yet to see a photograph that can transmit that — you really have to see it in person.

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