The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC was intended to honour those killed or missing in action, without making a political statement. The memorial, designed by the then 21-year-old Maya Lin in 1981, chronologically lists the names of the 58,272 Americans who died in the Vietnam War on two walls of reflective black granite. These walls cut down into the earth and meet at a point, signifying America’s deepening involvement in the conflict.
Each name is accompanied by either a diamond, representing a confirmed death, or a cross, meaning missing in action. Friends and relatives of the fallen still come to leave tributes or make rubbings of the names of their loved ones, as pictured above.
It is particularly poignant as it very much a living memorial, with hundreds of visitors each day paying respects to their fathers, their brothers, their friends. It is also a stark reminder that the conflict is still scarred in the memory of so many Americans, who remember first-hand the impact the war had on their country.
Copyright Natalie Marchant/Tales From Taliena