November 13: The "March Against Death", the "Vietnam Veterans Memorial" opens, and other events of the date
A number of important events have taken place on November 13th in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1927 – The Holland Tunnel opens to the public in New York
The Holland Tunnel, under the Hudson River, connects Manhattan and Jersey City.
The plans to build this tunnel go back to 1906, yet, the real planning process didn’t start until 1919 when it was decided the tunnel would go under the river. The construction of the tunnel lasted for 7 years, from 1920 to 1927, when it was finally opened to the public.
An interesting fact about the Holland Tunnel is that when it was opened, it was the longest continuous underwater vehicular tunnel on the planet. It was originally meant to be named simply as Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel but was renamed after the chief engineer of the project, Clifford Milburn Holland, who died in 1924.
1969 – The “March Against Death”
This march was another episode in the American Era of Changes, devoted to tackling the militarist policy of the state and ending the Vietnam War through a series of peaceful civil protests.
It started on November 13, 1969 in Washington D.C., and by the time the weekend was over the march had become the most attended in the history of the city, with an attendance tens of thousands higher than at the Civil Rights March held in the capital back in 1963. At least 250,000 people took part in the “March Against Death.”
Disciplined in organization, friendly in mood, [the march] started at Arlington National Cemetery, went past the front of the White House and on to the west side of the Capitol. Walking single file and grouped by states, the protesters carried devotional candles and 24-in. by 8-in. cardboard signs, each bearing the name of a man killed in action or a Vietnamese village destroyed by the war. The candles flickering in the wind, the funereal rolling of drums, the hush over most of the line of march—but above all, the endless recitation of names of dead servicemen and gutted villages as each marcher passed the White House - were impressive drama: “Jay Dee Richter”…“Milford Togazzini”…“Vinh Linh, North Viet Nam”…“Joseph Y. Ramirez.” At the Capitol, each sign was solemnly deposited in one of several coffins, later conveyed back up Pennsylvania Avenue in the Saturday march,” Time Magazine wrote about the event.
1982 – Vietnam Veterans Memorial opens
This memorial, of about 2 acres of territory honoring American soldiers who fought, died, and went missing in action during the Vietnam War is located in the capital, Washington D.C.
Nowadays the memorial complex consists of three large separate parts: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall (the best-known part of the memorial), the Three Soldiers Memorial, and the memorial to commemorate women who served during the Vietnam War. Many organizations protested against the opening of the memorial, as well as against its structure, including those who fought against the war a decade before; nonetheless, nowadays it is one of the most popular places in Washington D.C., with no less than 4 million visitors a year.
Interestingly, the items left by visitors there are collected by National Park Service employees and transferred to the NPS Museum Resource Center, which catalogs and stores all the items with the exception of perishable organic matter (for example, fresh flowers) and unaltered U.S. flags.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on November 13th, at least in our view.