On March 22, 1982 – Ground was broken in Washington D.C. for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial designed by Maya Lin of Yale.
Some little known information regarding the Memorial:
The wall originally listed 57,939 names when it was dedicated in 1982; however other names have since been added and as of January 2022, there were 58,281 names, including eight women. The number of names on the wall is different from the official number of U.S. Vietnam War deaths as some names were omitted at the request of families. Directories containing all of the names are located on nearby podiums at both ends of the monument where visitors may locate specific names.
The memorial has had some unforeseen maintenance issues. In 1984, cracks were detected in the granite and, as a result, two of the panels were temporarily removed in 1986 for study. More cracks were later discovered in 2010. There are a number of hypotheses about the cause of the cracks, the most common being due to thermal cycling. In 1990, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund purchased several blank panels to use in case any were ever damaged; these were placed into storage at Quantico Marine Base. Two of the blank panels were shattered by the 2011 Virginia earthquake.
Inscribed in the memorial are the names of service members classified as “declared dead”; as the memorial contains names of individuals who had died due to circumstances other than killed in action, including murder, vehicle accidents, drowning, heart attack, animal attack, snake bites and others. Also included are the names of those whose status is unknown, which typically means “missing in action” (MIA). The names are inscribed in Optima typeface and Information about the rank, unit, and decorations is not given.
Those who are declared dead are denoted by a diamond, and those who are status unknown are denoted with a cross. When the death of one who was previously missing is confirmed, a diamond is superimposed over the cross. If the missing were to return alive, which has never occurred to date, the cross is to be circumscribed by a circle.
The earliest date of eligibility for a name to be included on the memorial is November 1, 1955, which corresponds to President Eisenhower deploying the Military Assistance Advisory Group to train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The last date of eligibility is May 15, 1975.
Rest In Eternal Peace