chapter  4
22 Pages

The Power of Memory: The Construction of the Vietnam Veterans and Kent State Memorials

ByBIRGITTE MADELUNG

The faded television images of a helicopter lifting o from the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon not only symbolize the culmination of two decades of American involvement in Vietnam; it is also the culmination of a decade of turbulence in domestic America. Surrendering, the South Vietnamese government fi nalized a chapter in the history of the U.S., essentially drafting the fi rst pages of the next. Newsday, a New York paper, called it a chapter whose end rarely had been more welcome.1 While the war was over, and the last Americans had left Vietnam, the process of understanding what was now the past was only just beginning.