Washington: 10 Things to Do

4. Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Visitors file by the Wall, which currently contains 58,249 names of fallen soldiers, while visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, Jim Watson / AFP / Getty
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At the west end of the Mall is a dark low wall that may be the most powerful memorial to loss in the world. Veterans and relatives come to make pencil rubbings from the 58,000 names engraved in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. For everyone else, to walk down the long, long chronological list of the casualties is to grasp the consequences of war, without fanfare or hubris. (From the Smithsonian stop on the orange or blue line of the Metro, head west.)

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