Helm Roberts (1931-2011), a Lexington, KY architect and Veteran, designed the memorial so every day is Memorial Day for a Kentucky Vietnam Veteran. It is a masterpiece of design, mathematics, history, honor and beauty. The blue-gray granite plaza of the memorial contains the names of 1,106 Kentucky citizens who died. Each name is precisely located so the shadow of the sundial pointer or gnomon touches each Veteran’s name on the anniversary of their death. Thus, each individual is honored with a personal tribute.
The Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the largest granite memorials in the nation and contains 327 custom panels weighing more than 215 tons. The lettering of the names and dates is the same style used for official government grave markers throughout the nation, including Arlington National Cemetery.
The memorial was built through the leadership, resolve, and perseverance of Vietnam Veterans at a time when many people were deaf to the need for such a tribute. A few members of the General Assembly, the Executive Branch and the National Guard also believed in and supported the project. The Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation (KVVMF) is a non-profit 501(C)3 corporation that maintains the memorial and grounds. No taxpayer dollars were used to build or maintain this site. The site was leased to the KVVMF “in perpetuity” by the Commonwealth.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held November 7, 1987, and construction was completed in late summer 1988. The memorial was opened on November 11, 1988, and officially dedicated on November 12, 1988. The memorial is open to visitors every day of the year. Since being dedicated, it has become one of the most visited landmarks in the Commonwealth. Schools, civic groups, tour groups, Veteran groups and individuals visit the memorial often to learn about the Vietnam War and the Kentuckians who served there.
Group Visits & Field Trips
We welcome school, civic, Veteran and other groups to learn about the history and science that is incorporated in the memorial.