Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial overlooks the state capitol and honors the 125,000 Kentuckians who served their nation between the years 1962-1975. Shaped as a giant sundial, the monument honors each of the 1,103 Kentuckians who lost their lives in the war and includes each name listed on the day they were killed. The shadow of the gnomon falls upon each soldiers name on the anniversary of his death.
Backstory and Context
The names of the fallen are etched upon 327 4-inch thick granite slabs supported by 800 hidden concrete piers. Rainwater never pools because the memorial is designed so that the water drains between the slabs or down the plaza's 2% slope. The memorial is one of the largest granite memorials in the United States and weighs over 215 tons.
The hours on the sundial represent the years 1962-1975. As the sun passes across the sundial, the shadows are representative of how many Kentuckian lives were lost as the war ebbed and flowed.
Architect Helm Roberts dedicated two years of his life to the design and construction of the memorial which was unanimously accepted by the memorial foundation, Roberts served in the US Navy during the 1950s as a fighter pilot. After leaving the military he had a distinguished career as architect and city planner. Mr. Roberts passed away in 2011 following a 3-year battle with prostate cancer at the age of 80.