As one approachs the memorial, the first sight is a quarter circle concrete wall with the inscription VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL(at corner of Washington & University Parks). Extended from one end of the quarter circle are six linear concrete wall sections. A plaza is located beyond the wall. It is designated Veterans Plaza and is dedicated to this country's veterans, past, present and future. The linear wall sections facing the plaza contain bronze seals of the five branches of military service. These seals recognize the contributions of servicemen and women during the Vietnam War.
A walkway leaves the plaza and leads through a grove of 64 trees. The trees are in memory of the 64 servicemen from Waco and McLennan County who died in Vietnam. One tree ring stands empty in recognition of those still missing in action. Three pavilions are located within the trees:
Pavilion I, The Beginning, represents our country, our families and us as individuals before the Vietnam War. Its granite markers states, "Before the Vietnam War, We Were Whole."
Pavilion II, The Conflict, is encountered further along the walkway. It is similar to Pavilion I, but it is broken and torn down. It symbolizes the war itself, the destruction and turmoil, the loss of life and the divisiveness within our country. Its marker states, The Vietnam War Brought Destruction And Turmoil.
Pavilion III, The Honor, is the final pavilion. Its marker is inscribed, "The Sacrifices of Those We Honor Make This Hallowed Ground. Let us Strive to Reunite and Heal." First, it pays tribute to the Waco and McLennan County servicemen who gave their lives in the war. On another level it recognizes the efforts of all American servicemen and servicewomen (those who died as well as those who survived) who served during the Vietnam era.