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Stop #15 Ky Vietnam Veterans Memorial

“It’s my legacy as an architect,” Helm Roberts told an interviewer before his death in 2011 at the age of 80.  “It’s what I will be remembered for.”  And he is right. The Memorial is a profoundly personal tribute to all the Kentuckians who served and lost their lives in the Vietnam War.  Roberts, a Naval Aviator veteran, designed the Memorial as a labor of love, and it is a masterpiece of mathematics as well as design.  The Memorial is in the form of a large sundial. The stainless steel gnomon casts its shadow upon a granite plaza. There are 1,103 names on the memorial, including 23 missing in action. Each name is engraved into the plaza, and placed so that the tip of the shadow touches his name on the anniversary of his death, thus giving each fallen veteran a personal Memorial Day. The location of each name is fixed mathematically by the date of casualty, the geographic location of the memorial, the height of the gnomon and the physics of solar movement. The stones were then designed and cut to avoid dividing any individual name.  To the end of his life, Roberts remained active with the Memorial, often hosting groups of students and veterans and answering questions about it.  The Memorial attracts a large number of visitors and is second only to the State Capital in attendance.

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