Vietnam memorial honors warriors, not war

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden paid an unscheduled visit today to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. As they traced names of fallen soldiers etched into the monument, the Bidens marked National Vietnam Veterans Day. It has been 48 years since U.S. troops were withdrawn from Vietnam.

Cover of the Bias Busters guide, "100 Questions and Answers About Veterans: A Guide for Civilians"

Cover of the Bias Busters guide, “100 Questions and Answers About Veterans: A Guide for Civilians”

The memorial was the wining design in a contest that attracted more than 1,400 entries. Winner Maya Lin, a 21-year-old student at Yale, proposed a massive slash in the he ground that would hold a black granite wall. It was carved with the names of more than 58,000 U.S. men and women who lost their lives in the war. Her idea was to make a memorial that would focus on warriors rather than the war. More names have been added to the wall. Viewers walk next to the wall, which starts low but grows to tower over them as more and more names are added.

The war was very unpopular and the monument’s design was, too. One reason was the fact that its designer is Chinese American.

In a U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs post, Army veteran Jan Scruggs, who campaigned for a memorial, made an observation. He said, “This Wall means many things to many people as it records the names of the past and reflects on our hopes for the future,” Hagel said. “It also offers a reminder, a message that carries across generations. The Wall reminds us to honor those who defend our country for making sure they’re treated with the dignity and respect and appreciation they deserve.”

“100 Questions and Answers About Veterans” is available from Amazon or the Front Edge Publishing bookstore.

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