Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Virtual Vietnam War Memorial Due November

This originally appeared at 3pointd:

Recently I posted about one of several sites in the virtual world of Second Life commemorating those who died in the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. It brought home to me how an immersive 3D environment can be used as a powerful visualisation tool, providing focus for contemplation.

Shortly after writing this piece I was contacted by Second Life resident, Evian Argus (in Real Life Robert Egan of Meme Science), to tell me about another memorial. Timed to open in November to coincide with the 25th anniversary of its original dedication, Meme Science are building a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial, commonly known as The Wall, in Second Life. The Wall lists all 58, 253 US service personnel killed or missing in the Vietnam war.

Discussions about the project first started with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund around May, 2007, with contracts being finalised towards the end of August. The island will open to the public in early November, with a formal unveiling on the actual anniversary, the 13th of November. The plan is locate the island adjacent to the existing Capitol Hill islands, reflecting their location in the real world. The island will feature all 3 components of the memorial: The Wall; the Three Soldiers statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. Information and name search facilities are planned, along with the option to leave virtual items (supplied by Meme) at The Wall.

The purpose is to provide a contemplative space for remembering the U.S. servicemen and women who died in Vietnam. It will be tied into a website that will offer name search facilities, research resources and more. The full list of features remains to be finalised. Evian was at pains to point out that the aim of the island is not political, it is simply to honour those who had given their lives and provide an education resource for those wishing to find out more, with tours, seminars and other events.

To quote their press release:

We feel privileged to be selected as the firm that will build a replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s War Memorial Wall in the Second Life metaverse.” said Robert Egan, president of Meme Science. “It will be a welcome challenge to virtually recreate the complex architectural design structure originally devised by Maya Ying Li. Our goal is to try to capture some of the experience and heart felt emotions that can only be felt by visiting the real life Memorial Wall in Washington DC, while at the same time bringing attention and honor to those Vietnam Veterans that died giving service to our country on this the 25th anniversary of the Wall’s dedication.

At the moment there is nothing to see, so I cannot comment on the construction, but it will be interesting to see if it manages to match the power of the sites constructed to remember the dead of 911. That is certainly the intention.

Images courtesy of Meme Science.


rikomatic said...

Sounds fascinating. Sadly, with the current ongoing war, any homage to our troops has become politicized.

TheVirtualWall said...

An internet version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened in March, 1997 named The Virtual Wall at In fact, the phrase The Virtual Wall is the registered US trademark of the organization that runs the web site.