Volunteers have tracked down at least one photo for every one of the more than 58,000 U.S. military personnel who died in the Vietnam War for the Wall of Faces, an online project that took more than two decades to complete.
More than half of the visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., today weren’t alive when it was commissioned in 1982.
The faces that go along with the names could add a human dimension to the experience, which seems to have been lost on policymakers who have repeated the mistakes that cost the nation so much from the time that the U.S. assumed financial and military support for the South Vietnamese state in November 1955 to the fall of Saigon in April 1975.
Over the years the picture-gathering process could be fraught: Relatives were sometimes reluctant to share photos of loved ones killed in battles picked by a government their survivors had come to distrust.
The goal was to help a new generation of Americans grapple with sacrifice and inspire them to reflect, perhaps, on “why we have a wall” with names inscribed on it, say organizers from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the nonprofit that spearheaded the digital project as well as the national monument on which all these names are engraved.
The virtual Wall of Faces features a page dedicated to honoring and remembering every person whose name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In an effort to further preserve the legacy of those who sacrificed all in Vietnam, VVMF is committed to finding a photo to go with each of the more than 58,000 names on The Wall.
The Wall of Faces allows family and friends to share memories, post pictures and connect with each other.