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Each Name Etched in the Black Granite of the Wall Represents a Soldier Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. displays the names of over 58,000 soldiers who gave their lives for the war, listed chronologically by date of casualty. It was commissioned by Congress in 1980, and commemorates the courage and sacrifice of the fallen soldiers over the political controversy of the Vietnam War.

Today, the Wall serves as a place to honor and reflect on those that were lost fighting for their country — a country for which they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, despite the tension and contention surrounding the war effort in Vietnam.

The soldiers listed on the Wall demonstrated tremendous duty and courage amid massive unrest and governmental mistrust back home. Whether they were drafted or volunteered, each gave their lives in an idea that transcended their individual forms.

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.