We saw the Memorial by accident back in the mid-eighties. It was the most impressive thing we saw in D. C., probably because of "how" we saw it. It was dusk and we had just left the Lincoln Memorial. As a tour guide had suggested earlier, we were walking towards a a busy thoroughfare where we hoped to catch a cab for the train station. The train would take us back to Baltimore where friends were to pick us up. We stumbled upon the Vietnam Memorial in the dark.
A nearby statue had been unveiled the day before. Speakers' scaffolding was still in place and the entire wall was absolutely plastered with flowers and mementos from the crowd that had been there. All of the things in the song were there. We didn't know what we were approaching until we got close enough to know for sure. We were the only ones there and it was very moving.