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Cultures of CommemorationWar Memorials, Ancient and Modern$
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Polly Low, Graham Oliver, and P.J. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264669

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264669.001.0001

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Monument to Defeat: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in American Culture and Society

Monument to Defeat: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in American Culture and Society

Chapter:
(p.159) 8 Monument to Defeat: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in American Culture and Society
Source:
Cultures of Commemoration
Author(s):

LAWRENCE A. TRITLE

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197264669.003.0008

Monument or memorial? Defeat or withdrawal? The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC pays tribute to more than 58,000 Americans who died fighting an unpopular war. Yet today the ‘Wall’, as it is known to most Americans, is the most visited site managed by the US National Park Service. Weekend visitors will happen upon an almost festive place as thousands of people pass by looking at the names – what do they think, imagine? This chapter discusses not only the story and controversy behind the building of the ‘Wall’, but also how it reflects the collective memory of a society and its values, and how these are constructed.

Keywords:   Vietnam War, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, war memorials, collective memory, Washington DC, Wall

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