Located in Constitution Gardens, next to the National Mall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated to all of those in the armed services that died during the war in Vietnam and South East Asia. The memorial consists of three parts, the iconic Memorial Wall, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Three Soldiers statue. The Memorial wall is not made out of marble, like other memorials, it is made from gabbro or igneous rock and was chosen for its polish and shine. The wall is 246 feet 9 inches long and the height varies up to 10 ft. The names on the wall represent those that perished during the war, soldiers that are missing in action (MIA), prisoners of war (POW), or those that died after the battle due to wounds. There are 58,272 names on the wall inscribed on the face of the polished stone, 8 of whom are women.
Visitors can see their own reflection as they read the names of the deceased. The names are arranged in chronological order by death. Those marked with a cross are MIA or POW while those marked with a diamond are confirmed dead. There are 1,170 dots on the wall. Each dot marks 10 names, which aids in finding names. The number of each panel, for cross-reference, is found at the bottom of each panel. Near the wall, the Three Soldiers statue, by Fredrick Hart, is bronze and depicts three American soldiers in combat uniform and equipment. Symbolically the three soldiers are Caucasian, black, and Hispanic. Two appear to be army soldiers (left and right) while the middle figure represents a Marine. The soldiers appear to be turned so that they are looking at the wall. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial, south of the wall, was dedicated to the female forces that served in the war, primarily nurses. There are three women in the statue, Hope (looking up), Faith (praying), and Charity (tending the fallen soldier). Visitors are asked to observe quietly in this area.