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The CIA Memorial Wall

40th AnniversaryEvery day CIA employees risk their lives to keep the nation safe. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives for the mission. On the smooth, white marble walls of the CIA Original Headquarters Building lobby, a field of stars serves as a somber, silent memorial for fallen CIA officers. This July marks the 40th anniversary of the Memorial Wall.

In February 1973, Agency officers proposed that a memorial plaque be placed at CIA Headquarters to honor employees who had died in Southeast Asia, primarily in Laos and Vietnam. The idea was expanded to recognize all officers who had fallen in the line of duty.

Master Stone Carver Harold Vogel designed the CIA Memorial. Vogel’s goal was to make the memory of the fallen an integral part of the building. His vision of the CIA’s Memorial emphasized the unity of the stars on the wall, standing as a field. His concept was approved in November 1973; Director William E. Colby approved the 31 original stars in April 1974.

Three months later, Vogel carved the memorial. It was done without fanfare. No ceremony was held; no pictures were taken.  The stars and inscription - “In honor of those members of the Central Intelligence Agency who gave their lives in the service of their country”- simply appeared.

Posted: Jul 14, 2014 03:16 PM
Last Updated: Jul 14, 2014 03:25 PM