Vietnam Veterans Memorial

This blog post is a companion piece to this exhibit on the Google Cultural Institute.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 11, 1984, Memorial Day. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial faced many challenges and obstacles, but nothing was able to prevent its creation. President Reagan was introduced by Senator John Warner at the Memorandum of Conveyance, which transferred the rights to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation to the United States Department of the Interior. President Reagan shared, with the American people, what he believed to be the greater purpose of the Memorial at the dedication ceremony, “The war in Vietnam threatened to tear our society apart, and the political and philosophical disagreements that animated each side continue to some extent.” President Reagan continued, “It’s been said that these memorials reflect a hunger for healing. Well, I do not know if perfect healing ever occurs, but I know that sometimes when a bone is broken, if it’s knit together well, it will in the end be stronger than if it had not been broken.”

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum will be live streaming a discussion this Tuesday (10/17/17) with directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick about their PBS documentary series, The Vietnam War. The discussion will be moderated by Cokie Roberts, and hosted by the National Archives in Washington D.C. In conjunction with this event the Reagan Library will be displaying a one-day exhibit on the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. The event is free to the public.

Please send RSVP’s for this event to Carol Cohea at carol.cohea@nara.gov 805.577.4065

Questions for students:

Why did Jan Scruggs believe a Vietnam Veterans Memorial was necessary?

Why was it important to have Nancy Reagan on the board of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation?

Why did the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation choose Maya Lin’s design?

What were the reasons people supported the Vietnam Veterans Memorial? Contrast that with the reasons people did not support the Memorial.

List at least three names of the members of Congress who did not support the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

What was the compromise made to allow the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be constructed?

In your opinion, what is the purpose of creating a memorial? (Memorials in general, not specifically the Vietnam Veterans Memorial)

When was the Memorial officially approved?

Which President signed the bill to create the Vietnam Veterans Memorial?

Were any public funds used to create the Vietnam Veterans Memorial?

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