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In the comfortless elbow of the Vietnam Memorial in DC, I asked the veteran stationed there how the names were arranged. He explained that starting from the middle, where we were standing, the names are listed in the order in which they fell, stretching to the right, and then picking up again at the entry way to the wall.

But, I said, stretches are alphabetized, some so long that initially I thought the entire wall was arranged A-Z.

They’re listed alphabetically, replied the vet, when there were multiple deaths on one day.

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