The New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial-a glass block wall sixteen feet high and seventy feet long—is not an honor roll of those who died, but a symbol of hope as voiced in the letters of the soldiers who served in Vietnam, their families, and their countrymen. Excerpts from the letters will be etched in the glass along with news dispatches and public documents. While the thoughts are complete parts or fragments, it is their cumulative and rhythmic patterns that will convey an understanding of the Vietnam experience. Interaction with the wall itself is welcomed by a granite shelf that will run along both sides of the wall and invite visitor participation. Individuals may leave tokens of remembrance for others to reflect upon.
The memorial is both an object and event. Translucent by day, it will become a beacon of light at night. The glass, although solid and massive, will appear fragile and ephemeral. Like the writing, it has a two-dimensional surface, but will project a three-dimensional quality. These apparent contradictions will animate the symmetrical form, distinguishing it from all others and symbolizing the Vietnam years. At closer range, the memorial will tell a compelling story to our children and our children's children. For the soldiers who died in service, as well as the veterans who returned home, to the families that suffered and to the nation that now finds time to remember, we dedicate our design.
Peter Wormser, William Fellows, Joseph Ferrandino
15 February 1985