Gary, have you visited the interactive web site
for the Vietnam Memorial? Most compelling to me is the statistic that the average age of the men and (8) women on the wall is 22.8 years.
The Memorial is open 24 hours a day, as it's in an open part of the Mall. Nearby are the Women's Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. Also very close is the Lincoln Memorial, which is just across the street.
Also very compelling is the section of the Smithsonian's Museum of American History
that houses the collection of things folks left at the wall in its first few years. I've been to the wall many times, and have always seen very poignant items left by family and friends. Be sure to bring paper and pencil if you want to get a rubbing of the names of your friends.