In a courtyard stands a memorial
Black Granite is its name
Honoring 412 Vietnam Veterans
Who never came home again.
It’s a quiet sort of courtyard
I visit it now and then
A place for healing and remembrance
Vowing never to forget these men.
The names in alphabetical order
Are etched in the granite deep
I run my fingers over them
Sleep in silence sleep.
Flags are blowing in the wind
One for each in rhythm dance
The music that they’re making
Is the requiem of chance.
©Copyright 2003 by Janet Rattay
‘Black Granite’ Vietnam War Memorial
Old Allegheny County Jail Courtyard
Ross Street and Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Black Granite symbolizes the stone to memorialize the fallen American Soldiers of the Vietnam War.
The 4 and 00 (double zero’s equals infinity) and the 1 (implies one) 2 (too many) with the crying rose, represent 412 soldiers. The double zeros represent infinity and the continuation of the fallen; and in war there is always one more and one more.
The black iron represents the city of Pittsburgh that was founded and built by the Mothers and Fathers of iron and steel.
The triangle represents the three rivers. The three small triangles in the corner of the larger triangle represent the folded flag and the three-corner hat of our founding fathers who fought and died for the principles of freedom.
The twelve bolts that secure the black granite represents the twelve months of the year, which our soldiers served in Vietnam. The five bolts on each side of the triangles represent the sum of the ten year war in Vietnam as well as the number ten found in the Bible.
The thirteen-foot black granite tablet, as well as the height of the triangle, represent the thirteen original colonies. The symbol on the back that secures the black granite is in the shape of the peace sign, which was often drawn on the helmet of Vietnam soldiers. The black and gold flagpoles represent the beloved colors of Pittsburgh.
The height of the crying rose to the tablets with the names was strategically placed so that all those that read the names must bow their head and in sad memory their heads will turn to and fro in sorrow.
The black granite memorial was born from a long war, the death of LCPL William Joseph Wagner, Jr. and from a poem titled, “The Wall”.
The Black Granite Vietnam War Memorial was carefully thought out and constructed by many volunteers with the memory.
Not so long ago… Vietnam