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They gave all: 11 things to know about Vietnam Veterans Memorial

🕐 2 min read Staff

(CNN) — As we get ready to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces, we thought we’d give you some interesting facts about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, one of the most popular attractions in Washington, D.C.:

— A Vietnam veteran came up with the idea for the memorial. Jan Scruggs was an infantry corporal who wanted a place to commemorate all those who served and sacrificed their lives in Vietnam.

— The wall was designed by a college student. Her name is Maya Ying Lin and she was an undergraduate of Yale University at the time. There were more than 1,400 entries submitted to a national design competition and a panel of eight anonymous judges chose Lin’s design.

— It took less than eight months to build the memorial. The site’s groundbreaking took place on March 26, 1982, and the wall was completed by late October. The wall was dedicated on November 13, 1982.

— The wall is made of black granite from Bangalore, India. The country is one of only three places in the world (Sweden and South Africa) where you can get such a large amount of black granite.

— No federal funds were needed to create the memorial. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund raised nearly $9 million through private contributions from corporations, foundations, unions, veterans and civic organizations. More than 275,000 individual Americans also contributed.

— There are 58,286 names listed on the wall as of 2013. The names are arranged by date of casualty.

— More than half of the people listed on the wall were under 22. The largest age group is made up of 19-year-olds.

— The names of eight women appear on the wall. They nursed the wounded.

— The number killed on their first day in Vietnam: 997. By comparison, 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.

— The state with the highest casualty rate per capita belongs to West Virginia. The names of 711 West Virginians appear on the Wall.

— The day with the most casualties was January 31, 1968. There were 245 lives lost that day.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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