Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Top choice monument in National Mall
Image by mike black photography / Getty Images

Maya Lin's design for this hugely evocative memorial takes the form of a black, low-lying 'V' – an expression of the psychic scar wrought by the Vietnam War. The monument descends into the earth, with the names of the war's 58,000-plus American casualties – listed in the order they died – chiseled into the dark, reflective wall. It's a subtle but profound monument – and all the more surprising as Lin was only 21 when she designed it.

To find a specific name, use the Directory of Names, located at both ends of the wall and arranged alphabetically. Alternatively, download 'The Wall' app. You can also search online at

There are two other, far more traditional, parts to the memorial, both of which are cast in bronze and neither of which was designed by Lin: the Three Servicemen Statue and the Vietnam Women's Memorial.