The Vietnam Women’s Memorial honors the 265,000 women who risked their lives to care for this country’s wounded and dying during the Vietnam War. The 2,000 pound bronze structure stands 15 feet tall and is located at the west end of the National Mall, directly across from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Three symbolic women of service and one injured soldier are depicted in the memorial, standing atop a mound of sandbags. One woman looks up as one prays and the other cares for the wounded man. According to the National Park Service, about 2.4 million people visit the memorial per year.
The Vietnam Women's Memorial was dedicated on the National Mall on Nov. 11, 1993. Diane Carlson Evans, a former Army nurse who served in Vietnam, initiated and led the effort to add the Vietnam Women's Memorial to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial project was not swiftly approved and required three federal commissions and two separate pieces of Congressional legislation. In sum, it took ten years for the vision to become a reality. The memorial’s sculptor is Glenna Goodacre, whose work aims to convey the strength and courage of the women who served.
Visitation of the memorial is free and open 24 hours a day. Park Rangers are on duty daily from 8 a.m. to midnight. Storytellers are featured every 15 to 30 minutes near the site of the memorial beginning at 8:30 a.m. and concluding at 4:45 p.m. Photography of the statue is encouraged, but commercial filming or photography is not permitted.
The most convenient way to reach the Vietnam Women’s Memorial is by Metrorail or Metrobus. The closest Metro station is Foggy Bottom, located on the Orange and Blue Lines. If traveling by bus, take the 32, 34 or 36 Metrobuses. Regular and handicapped parking are available along Ohio Drive SW or in Lots A, B, and C, south of the Jefferson Memorial. Please note that street parking is very scarce.
The Vietnam Women’s Memorial is a part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, so it is surrounded by historical landmarks. Located across from the memorial to its brother soldiers, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial looks out onto the Reflecting Pool. The memorial is also within walking distance of the Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
- The material used for the paving is Carnelian red granite from Minnesota.
- The woman looking up is named Hope, the woman praying is named Faith, and the woman tending to the wounded soldier is named Charity.
- The Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation estimates that approximately 11,000 military women were stationed in Vietnam during the conflict.
- The kneeling figure has been called “the heart and soul” of the piece because so many veterans see themselves in her.