Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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November 13th
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., dedicated on November 13, 1982, honors American men and women who served in a long and controversial war. The main part of the memorial consists of a polished black granite wall that bears the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died in the war, or who are listed as missing in action. Every day, visitors leave flowers, pictures, and notes for loved ones lost in Vietnam. Many people make pencil rubbings of the name of someone special. During a visit to the Wall, as it is known, President Ronald Reagan said this:

The memorial reflects as a mirror reflects, so that when you find the name you’re searching for you find it in your own reflection. And as you touch it, from certain angles, you’re touching, too, the reflection of the Washington Monument or the chair in which great Abe Lincoln sits. Those who fought in Vietnam are part of us, part of our history. They reflected the best in us. No number of wreaths, no amount of music and memorializing will ever do them justice, but it is good for us that we honor them and their sacrifice. And it’s good that we do it in the reflected glow of the enduring symbols of our Republic.
When our soldiers returned from Vietnam, they sometimes met the scorn of fellow Americans who, as Reagan put it, “were unable to distinguish between our native distaste for war and the stainless patriotism of those who suffered its scars.” In decades since, Americans have found renewed gratitude for those who served. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a place to remember the price of war and honor those who have answered the call of their country. As the poet Virgil wrote:

Here, too, the honorable finds its due
And there are tears for passing things;
Here, too, things mortal touch the mind.
American History Parade
1775
During the American Revolution, Patriot troops under General Richard Montgomery capture Montreal.

1956
The Supreme Court strikes down laws requiring segregation on public buses.

1971
Mariner 9 becomes the first satellite to orbit another planet, Mars.

1982
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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