In the beginning, the wall was as controversial as the war itself.
In 1979, a Vietnam vet named Jan Scruggs had a vision to create a memorial to the 2.7 million Americans who served in the nation's longest and most controversial war. Despite initial cynicism and opposition, the Memorial was built in 1982. The black granite wall, designed by Yale undergraduate Maya Lin, was called a black gash of shame and stirred up so much controversy that the whole project was almost stopped. Every year, millions of visitors visit the iconic wall, some to pay tribute and others to heal old wounds.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.