Above and Beyond: Remembering the Vietnam War

By Patrick Martin and Qingwei Chen

When visitors to the Harold Washington Library Center
ascend the escalator to the third floor, they will now see 58,307 dog tags hanging above them. Each small piece of metal is stamped with the name of an individual service member killed in the Vietnam War. They are in chronological order by date of casualty.

“This is the only exhibit outside of the wall in D.C. that commemorates every military service person who died in the Vietnam War,” Lionel Rabb, Chairman of the National Veterans Art Museum, said at the exhibit’s opening ceremony on Saturday, February 20.

Photo at top: Destinee Oitzinger, the Gallery Coordinator at the National Veterans Art Museum, holds some of the dog tags in the Above and Beyond exhibit. There is a portion of the exhibit where visitors can touch some of the identification tags. (Qingwei Chen/MEDILL)