Jeffersontown, KY, United States

competition 2016, 1st prize

built 2023

The overriding purpose of this proposed monument is to honor and express deep gratitude for the millions of Americans and Vietnamese who fought side-by-side to stop communist aggression and give the South Vietnamese people their freedom. The phrase “Tri Ân” means “deep gratitude.” With deep gratitude, monument honors those who fought to protect the freedom and democracy for the people of South Vietnam during the war, thanks and honors all who provided the humanitarian efforts that helped millions of Vietnamese refugees make it to safe havens on their journey to freedom after the war.

Over 128 entries from 29 countries participated in the Tri Ân Monument design competition to create the ideal design to commemorate the dedication the U.S. and South Vietnamese Military exhibited to helping the South Vietnamese people. The winning design was selected through a vigorous process by a panel of judges to fulfill the criteria of creating a monument that is meaningful, unique, dramatic, and timeless to commemorate those who had fought and sacrificed during the Vietnam War. The design creates an environment that aids the visitors in reflecting upon the triumphs and losses as well as the humanitarian efforts displayed during the war. The monument fit harmoniously with the tranquil beauty of the nature surrounding the site. Most importantly, the design conveys the overarching meaning of deep gratitude to those who fought to protect and help the South Vietnamese people.

Eight mighty pillars rise in the distance, beckoning passersby to come take a closer look. Upon approaching, visitors are taken into a space unlike any other. The eight bamboo-formed concrete columns stand majestically, reminiscent of the eight anti-communist allies that came together to work toward freedom for the Vietnamese people—South Vietnam, the United States, Australia, Thailand, South Korea, New Zealand, Republic of China (Taiwan), and the Philippines.

The courtyard offers an open space for quiet contemplation, perfect for reflecting upon the historical images and words adorning the surrounding walls. Walls are decorated with photos of those who fought in Vietnam. As visitors stroll through the monument site, the conflict in Vietnam comes to light in a beautiful yet solemn dedication.

Line of high columns invites distant observer to take a closer look. 8 columns stand side by side, facing the rising sun, the forest, aligned with the river, representing line of defense and connection between two worlds.
Vietnam experience has formed soldiers from different countries and made them brothers; 8 bamboo formed concrete columns are exposed to the sun and rain, reaching to sky and in the same time supporting it, honoring people from 8 countries that fought for freedom.
They are eternal witness in a quiet recessed courtyard, surrounded by walls, paths, ramps and stairs that provide intimacy, access and circulation in the monument and beyond.
Walls are covered with images and words of history, war and of those who served. This prepares visitor for the deep experience.
Monumental courtyard, suited for outdoor gatherings, is opening down to the hillside slope with green terraces. Suddenly the space becomes elevated base.
Distant views framed by the columns become part of the experience. Trees are echoed in the columns; it appears as if they separated from the forest to the higher, safer place.