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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the dedication of Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor not only those that died in the Vietnam War but those that served, as well. There are about 58,000 names attached to the wall. The Memorial is one of the most visited sites in Washington D.C., and according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, some 4.5 million people visit each year.

The idea came from a Vietnam veteran, named Jan Scruggs who was wounded in a battle in May 1969. Jan Scruggs led a group of veterans that wanted to somehow honor those that fought and died in the war. Legislation was soon introduced, quickly passed in Congress and signed by Jimmy Carter on July 1st, 1980. The bill allowed for a Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be constructed. A national design competition was then established for any U.S. citizen over the age of 18. The competition produced more than 1,400 design entries. The winner, Maya Lin, was selected by a jury of well-known artists and architects. At the time, Maya was a senior at Yale University. The Memorial was funded by donations from corporations, foundations, and many veterans’ organizations. Finally, this Memorial was established and fully constructed in late October of 1982 and dedicated on November 13th 1982.

My father fought in the Vietnam War and I remember the many times that my family visited the Memorial in Washington D.C. Each time we visited D.C., this Memorial was always on the list of places to visit. I can remember my father looking up names of friends that he had fought with, and many others that were doing the same. I also remember seeing many visitors with tears in their eyes leaving the site. If you have not visited the site, I highly recommend it because it is something that you will never forget.


Amazon Says: Of all our nation's conflicts, the Vietnam War evokes the rawest emotions and has galvanized and divided Americans from the turbulent decade it helped define to the present da more...
Amazon Says: Of all our nation's conflicts, the Vietnam War evokes the rawest emotions and has galvanized and divided Americans from the turbulent decade it helped define to the present day. In the quest to create a memorial honoring the 58,195 service members lost in our nation's longest and most controversial war, passions ran high. Some believed it would never be built. Yet out of the mayhem, a uniquely moving and beautiful monument emerged. Here is that remarkable story. Remembering Vietnam: The Wall at 25 presents decorated Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs, whose vision in 1979 to build a Vietnam memorial was met with cynicism and opposition, and Maya Lin, the Yale undergraduate whose etched granite memorial was once called a black gash of shame, nearly halting the project. Now, 25 years later, Smithsonian Networks explores the very personal story of The Wall, from its unlikely beginnings to its current status as Washington, D.C.'s most visited monument, drawing millions each year to grieve, pay tribute or heal old wounds. Many leave personal tokens and mementos as offerings. Remembering Vietnam The Wall at 25 shares not only the history of The Wall, but the compelling stories of veterans who served our country. Discover what this heart wrenching tribute means to those who fought and to the families of those who never returned. And experience what this iconic tribute teaches every American about courage, vision, war and remembrance. less...
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Amazon Says: The man who conceived the idea of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and who was the driving force behind its realization recounts the story of the political maneuvering, imaginati more...
Amazon Says: The man who conceived the idea of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and who was the driving force behind its realization recounts the story of the political maneuvering, imaginative fundraising, and the design competition that brought the memorial into being less...
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Amazon Says: Featured in The Vietnam War PBS series by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick In 1968 James T. Gillam was a poorly focused college student at Ohio University who was dismissed and then more...
Amazon Says: Featured in The Vietnam War PBS series by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick In 1968 James T. Gillam was a poorly focused college student at Ohio University who was dismissed and then drafted into the Army. Unlike most African-Americans who entered the Army then, he became a Sergeant and an instructor at the Fort McClellan Alabama School of Infantry. In September 1968 he joined the First Battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Within a month he transformed from an uncertain sergeant—who tried to avoid combat—to an aggressive soldier, killing his first enemy and planning and executing successful ambushes in the jungle. Gillam was a regular point man and occasional tunnel rat who fought below ground, an arena that few people knew about until after the war ended. By January 1970 he had earned a Combat Infantry Badge and been promoted to Staff Sergeant.Then Washington’s politics and military strategy took his battalion to the border of Cambodia. Search-and-destroy missions became longer and deadlier. From January to May his unit hunted and killed the enemy in a series of intense firefights, some of them in close combat. In those months Gillam was shot twice and struck by shrapnel twice. He became a savage, strangling a soldier in hand-to-hand combat inside a lightless tunnel. As his mid-summer date to return home approached, Gillam became fiercely determined to come home alive. The ultimate test of that determination came during the Cambodian invasion. On his last night in Cambodia, the enemy got inside the wire of the firebase, and the killing became close range and brutal.Gillam left the Army in June 1970, and within two weeks of his last encounter with death, he was once again a college student and destined to become a university professor. The nightmares and guilt about killing are gone, and so is the callous on his soul. Life and Death in the Central Highlands is a gripping, personal account of one soldier’s war in the Vietnam War.Number 5 in the North Texas Military Biography and Memoir Series“Jim Gillam experienced real combat in his Vietnam tour. His stunning accounts of killing and avoiding being killed ring true. Although wounded several times, Jim did not leave the field for treatment in a field hospital, so he never generated the paperwork for a Purple Heart or two or three. Although he would be appalled at the thought, his attention to duty was ‘lifer’ behavior, a concern for the well-being of his squad that represents the best of NCO leadership in any army.”—Allan R. Millett, author of Semper Fidelis and coauthor of A War to Be Won“[Gillam] looks back on his experiences of Vietnam not solely as a participant in the war, but also with the critical eye of a trained historian. . . . [He] uses an impressive array of after action reports, duty officer logs, battlefield reports, and other primary source material, to back up and reinforce his recollections.”— Journal of Military History review by James H. Willbanks, author of The Tet Offensive“Gillam, a ‘shake and bake’ sergeant, presents a good account of small unit infantry action during the war. He is very good at explaining the weaponry, tactics, and living conditions in the field.”—James E. Westheider, author of The African-American Experience in Vietnam less...
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Amazon Says: On March 19, 1969, First Lieutenant Homer R. Steedly, Jr., shot and killed a North Vietnamese soldier, Dam, when they met on a jungle trail. Steedly took a diary—filled with more...
Amazon Says: On March 19, 1969, First Lieutenant Homer R. Steedly, Jr., shot and killed a North Vietnamese soldier, Dam, when they met on a jungle trail. Steedly took a diary—filled with beautiful line drawings—from the body of the dead soldier, which he subsequently sent to his mother for safekeeping. Thirty-five years later, Steedly rediscovers the forgotten dairy and begins to confront his suppressed memories of the war that defined his life, deciding to return to Viet Nam and meet the family of the man he killed to seek their forgiveness.Fellow veteran and award-winning author Wayne Karlin accompanied Steedly on his remarkable journey. In Wandering Souls he recounts Homer’s movement towards a recovery that could only come about through a confrontation with the ghosts of his past—and the need of Dam’s family to bring their child’s “wandering soul” to his own peace.Wandering Souls limns the terrible price of war on soldiers and their loved ones, and reveals that we heal not by forgetting war’s hard lessons, but by remembering its costs. less...
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Amazon Says: The Vietnam War left wounds that have taken three decades to heal--indeed some scars remain even today. In A Time for Peace, prominent American historian Robert D. Schulzinger more...
Amazon Says: The Vietnam War left wounds that have taken three decades to heal--indeed some scars remain even today. In A Time for Peace, prominent American historian Robert D. Schulzinger sheds light on how deeply etched memories of this devastating conflict have altered America's political, social, and cultural landscape. Schulzinger examines the impact of the war from many angles. He traces the long, twisted, and painful path of reconciliation with Vietnam, the heated controversy over soldiers who were missing in action, the influx of over a million Vietnam refugees into the US, and the plight of Vietnam veterans, many of whom returned home alienated, unhappy, and unappreciated. Schulzinger looks at how the controversies of the war have continued to be fought in books and films and, perhaps most important, he explores the power of the Vietnam metaphor on foreign policy, particularly in Central America, Somalia, the Gulf War, and the war in Iraq. Using a vast array of sources, A Time for Peace provides an illuminating account of a war that still looms large in the American imagination. less...
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