5 Ways the National Park Service Helps Preserve the Legacy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The National Park Service (NPS) manages the U.S. national parks, including many American national monuments. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the historic places that the NPS helps conserve. Since President Jimmy Carter signed legislation to appropriate federal land to build the Memorial in 1980, NPS has spent decades working with VVMF to honor and educate.
There are more than 58,000 names inscribed on The Wall in Washington, D.C. These are the names of servicemembers who died and remain missing from the Vietnam War.
The National Park Services helps care for the 493 ft. structure as well as the additional components to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site: the Three Servicemen Statue and the flagpole, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the In Memory Plaque.
Here are five ways the NPS takes care of this special place.
5. Care and Preservation of the Memorial Site
VVMF pays for services and updates made to the three-acre site to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Such services include lawn maintenance and changing the status symbols on The Wall when remains are recovered from Vietnam. VVMF pays for the updates of new editions to the Name Directories and provides copies to the National Park Service (NPS) for use at The Wall. NPS helps maintain the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site by overseeing the assistance VVMF provides, ranging from light bulbs and supplies, to Memorial maintenance.
4. Co-Hosts Annual Ceremonies at The Wall
NPS co-hosts the annual Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies at The Wall with VVMF. Ceremonies at the Memorial require NPS permits and approval – from the chairs visitors sit in to the stages provided for the speakers. Opening remarks are usually made by the acting superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks, on behalf of NPS.
3. Provides Daily Guided Tours and Information
NPS also provides an array of knowledge to the public through guided tours, Ranger talks, and walks that are free of charge. Park Rangers and volunteers can be found at an information kiosk near the west side of The Wall, ready to hand out pamphlets and answer your questions.
2. Provides Volunteer Opportunities: Be A Vietnam Veterans Memorial Volunteer
There are multiple ways you can get involved in preserving your nation’s parks. NPS offers opportunities to volunteer on the National Mall and across the country. Specifically, NPS coordinates Wall washings every Saturday morning in the warmer months. The Park Service also offers a chance to become a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Volunteer.
Volunteers at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicate their time to assisting visitors more than four million annual visitors at The Wall, and sharing the legacies of all Vietnam veterans. They also support VVMF programs including helping at ceremonies, spreading word about the campaign to build the Education Center, and collecting photos of all the men and women on The Wall.
1. Collects and Curates Items Left at The Wall
Shortly after its dedication, visitors to the Memorial began leaving items in memoriam to those killed and missing service members listed on The Wall. The NPS collects, catalogs, and preserves these objects as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection. Once the future Education Center at The Wall is funded and constructed, approximately 4,000 – 6,000 items will be on public display, selected with curatorial support from VVMF.
Last August, VVMF and NPS unveiled Items Left at The Wall – a virtual collection of nearly 500 items left at The Wall that can now be seen at www.vvmf.org/items. This is the largest exhibit of items left at The Wall to be made available online, and is representative of the 400,000 items left since The Wall was dedicated in 1982.
For more information on the National Park Service, visit their website here.