Back on U.S. 64, a few miles past the turn for Angel Fire , a swooping white structure rises on the hill to your left. This is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park (575/377-6900, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, www.angelfirememorial.com ), built by Victor Westphall as a remembrance for his son David, who died in the war.
When Westphall commissioned Santa Fe architect Ted Luna to design the graceful white chapel in 1968, it was the first such memorial for the casualties of Vietnam. An adjacent visitors center was built later and has expanded through the years. The complex is a site of pilgrimage for many, and the front grounds and bulletin boards testify to veterans’ and families’ devotion, as they are covered with additional informal monuments and messages.