The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has an India Connection You Probably Don’t Know


With Memorial Day upon us, it is worth sharing a little-known fact about the  deeply revered and beautiful Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  The Memorial will be forever tied to the hills of South India.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial has a unique and unmistakable design by Maya Lin, with a centerpiece consisting of two walls of solid polished black granite, each one 246 feet and 9 inches long.  These walls list the names of 58,307 American men and women who were killed or MIA due to the Vietnam War, etched into stone.  The gigantic blocks of black granite were imported all the way from Karnataka, India, the home state of my family and one of the few places in the world where shiny black granite is to be found.  It helps make the Memorial reflective- in more ways than one- with a spirit that extends to other monuments, including the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

We’d like to salute those who have fallen in the Vietnam War and other wars in service of their country.  As the United States and India build toward a closer military relationship, it is worth noting the other important ways the two countries are meaningful to one another.

Photo Credit

Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor


  1. Small countries can sometimes teach much larger countries a lesson in how to act decently and responsibly. Take, as an example, the Solomon Islands. Last year, the Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs, Milner Ozaka, one of that country’s most senior officials, attended the repatriation of US war dead at an official ceremony in the capital city of Honiara. His presence demonstrates the high respect the Solomon Islands Government has for the sacrifices made by US servicemen who died on its territory during World War II. In shameful contrast, the Government of India didn’t bother sending Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to a similar repatriation ceremony that took place earlier this year in India. Instead, reflecting the lack of importance it attributed to this ceremony, it sent only mid-level bureaucrats. Clearly the Indian Government has a LOT to learn when it comes to showing the proper respect for US war dead.


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