New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Museum, and Educational Center
The 366 black granite panels bear the names of those who were killed or missing.
New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The memorial includes a plaque bearing the names of 138 children killed in Operation Babylift that sought to evacuate orphans from Saigon in the final days before North Vietnam captured the city.
Backstory and Context
Former refugee and designer Hien Nguyen revealed his design for the memorial July 7, 1988. Nguyen's design was featured an open air pavilion inside surrounded by 366 black granite panels. Each of the panels represented one day of the year, and contain the name, date of birth, and the date of each New Jerseyan who was killed or missing during the war. In the center of the pavilion stands a red oak, the state tree of New Jersey, and three statues under the tree's canopy that represent those who served. The memorial was dedicated on May 7, 1995, the 20th anniversary of the end of the war. After three additional years of fundraising, the museum opened in 1998.
In 2001, the center dedicated the Women Veterans Meditation Garden, which includes a covered pergola and fountain. The garden also includes a plaque commemorating those who died in Operation Babylift, as well as a small memorial dedicated to Captain Eleanor Grace Alexander. Nurse Alexander is only female service member whose name appears on the memorial's granite wall. She and twenty-six others were killed in 1967 when their transport plane crashed near Qui Nhon.