30th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Spotlight See more photos by visiting the location page for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Thirty years ago today, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. was officially dedicated in front of thousands of veterans who marched to the site.

The Memorial Wall, the Memorial’s main focus, was designed by 21-year-old American architect Maya Lin. Her design was unanimously selected from a pool of over 1,400 applicants. Two reflective gabbro walls, each 246 feet (75 meters) long, slowly grow taller as they sink into the ground. The 58,191 names inscribed on the walls in Optima typeface list all of the servicemen who were either confirmed to be Killed in Action or classified as Missing in Action when the walls were constructed in 1982. When a visitor faces the walls, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, symbolically bringing the past and present together.