In Support of Vietnam Veterans
The varying shapes and sizes of the many fountains in Kansas City gives it the nickname of “the city of fountains.” Often crafted to add visual appeal, as well as to honor an event or person, it is no surprise that the city chose to honor the Vietnam veterans with a fountain memorial!
A competition was help to determine the design of the fountain. There were over fifty artists who submitted designs in 1982. The competition committee chose the design by local artist, David Baker, who was a Vietnam Vet himself.
The idea behind Baker’s design was to symbolize the war in an abstract way. The plan included rectangular and overlapping pools. The pools were to grow in size, symbolizing the growth of involvement by the US in the war. The water will eventually spill into two separate pools, which symbolize the division in the country, as to whether or not the involvement was justified.
What was so important about this design was its ability to memorialize the era in its entirety, and not take a firm stand on either side. This design was seen as a method of mending the division the war had created, as water is symbolized to clean and heal!
The land for the fountain was donated by the Kansas City Park Department at 43rd and Broadway, close to Country Club Plaza. The 1.3 million dollars needed to build the fountain was raised through private donations.
This stunning fountain also features a wall that is ten feet high and 155 feet in length. The names of the 385 men who were missing or killed in action are inscribed on the wall, these men come from Kansas City or the seven country surrounding area.
This fountain is even more attractive at night, as the underwater lighting shines out from under the water as it cascaded from pool to pool. Larking Engineers was consulted to help with the mechanics and engineering of the fountain, a group that was responsible for many of the fountains in Kansas City.
The Vietnam War Memorial, dedicated on December 16th, 1985, has become a traditional gathering area for special Memorial Day events!