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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC is made up of two nearly 250 foot (75 m) long black granite walls that meet at an angle of about 125 degrees. Inscribed on the Wall are the names of those Americans who died in the Vietnam War. As of 2002, there are 58,226 names.

These walls are sunk into the ground with the top flush with the earth behind them. At the highest point (the apex where they meet), they are 10.1 feet (3 m) high, and they taper to a height of 8 inches (20 cm) at their extremities. Granite for the wall came from Bangalore India. One wall points toward the Washington Monument, the other in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial. There is a pathway along the base of the Wall, where visitors walk, read the names, make a pencil rubbing of a particular name, or pray.

The Memorial was designed by Maya Ling Lin, a 21 year old Yale architecture student. She submitted the winning design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in a national competition.

On May 6, 1981 a jury of architects and sculptors unanimously selected Lin's design for the memorial from 1,421 other entries. Ground breaking was held on March 26, 1982 with dedication of the memorial on November 13, 1982. Her design was for the central element of the monument, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

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