The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a national memorial in Washington, D.C. It has taken almost sixty years for the World War II veterans to acquire a monument in Washington. The memorial opened within the last decade after the war ended. The memorial is made of black granite and comprises of 140 panels and is engraved with the names of each American that died or is accounted for from the Vietnam War. The wall is larger toward the centre and is approximately ten feet high. The names are arranged chronologically in order of death, commencing with the first in 1959 and ending with the last in 1975. Some have objected to the names being arranged chronologically by order of death. Instead it has been suggested that they be entered at random, because there should be no precedence, not even the benign precedence of chronology. Nonetheless, most people appear unfazed with how the names are arranged; the only difficulty is locating a particular name on the wall. However, there are phone-book like listings at the entrance to the Wall and “roaming guides” that assist people in seeking out a particularl name.
The memorial was minimalist and unconventional, varying drastically from traditional monuments, which usually include flags and statues of fallen soldiers. Various veterans related the black granite with death and destruction and they believed that situating the Memorial beneath the surface of the earth was an insult to the memories of those who died. The memorial was not intended to be a political statement; instead it was meant to keep a quiet, private place for people to challenge their grief and sorrow.