This Day in History: A groundbreaking for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

On this day in 1982, a groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It had been 9 years since the last American combat troops left South Vietnam.

The Memorial was the culmination of a three-year project, spearheaded by a group of Vietnam veterans. These veterans wanted to encourage Americans to remember their support for the U.S. military who had served in that conflict, even if they disagreed with the U.S. policies that had led Americans to Vietnam in the first place.

The organization raised more than $8,000,000, all from private sources. Did you know that more than 275,000 Americans contributed to the cause? The design for the Memorial itself came from the winner of a national design competition, hosted by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. A 21-year old college student won the contest. More than 1,400 designs had been submitted!

If you’ve seen it, then you know that the memorial is made from polished black granite, and it lists the names of our lost men and women. A symbol is inscribed before each name: A diamond means that the individual’s death was confirmed. A cross means that the individual was missing (or possibly imprisoned) at the end of the war and remains unaccounted for. More than 58,000 names are inscribed on the Memorial.

Designs and plans for the Memorial were approved by Congress on March 11, 1982. The groundbreaking occurred at a site near the Lincoln Memorial on March 26.

Today is a good day to remember the many sacrifices that have been made by the men and women in our military. A big Thank You to everyone who serves our great country! #ProudToBeAnAmerican