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Virtual Vietnam Wall - Desktop Travel Pays Tribute to Fallen Americans

Digitized wall brings losses closer to home

We all have our own unique reasons for travel. To explore, to understand, to learn, to cherish. Sometimes travel can feel more like a thank you or maybe an apology, especially when we visit places like Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Vietnam.

American FlagAmerican FlagIf you've always wanted to see the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, but can't seem to get there, you no longer have to. You can visit it online.

The digital wall, unveiled last week, has more than 58,000 names etched onto it. And each name represents a life, a promise, a loved one - all lost.

The brick and mortar wall in Washington stretches almost 500 ft in length. The virtual one is smaller, but it's made from more than 6,000 digital photographs electronically pieced together.

The National Archives and Footnote.com created the virtual wall, which links names to digital photographs of each person to casualty reports and historical documents. Everyone who visits can leave a message that others can read.

"War is hell, Robert Love, a mechanic who served in Vietnam, told CNN. "There's no other way to put it. And when an individual goes into a situation where he or she takes the life of another individual, it's devastating and you never really get over it. At times, when you go to sleep at night, you see just like you were there. You wake up in a cold sweat -- scared; and after so long it starts wearing on your body."

The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall opens up a new era of travel for everyone and the perfect way to teach those too young to remember the devastating cost of Vietnam.

Sometimes travel really is as simple as a click away. Will you go to the wall?

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A web site similar to the one you described above opened in 1997. <a href="http://www.VirtualWall.org">THE VIRTUAL WALL</a> Vietnam Veterans Memorial at <a href="http://www.VirtualWall.org">www.VirtualWall.org</a> has thousands of personal tributes to the fallen in the form of letters, photographs, and citations. <a href="http://www.VirtualWall.org">THE VIRTUAL WALL</a> does not accept donations, fees, or advertising in order to honor the fallen.

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