J. Carter Brown's arguments against adding the statue of a woman to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are specious and show he misses the point of the memorial completely {"We Shall Never Be Able to Satisfy Everyone's Special Interest," Close to Home, Nov. 8}.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is not about art, and it is not about fulfilling anyone's special interests. It is about healing -- personal and national healing. Five years after the memorial's dedication, we are finally coming to grips with our individual and collective grief over the war and its impact on our country. Yet more needs to be done before we as a nation can finally move beyond the trauma of the war and its era. Adding the statue of a woman at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial would provide the physical symbol of honorable service by the thousands of women who worked in the war zone, just as the statue of the infantrymen does for the men who served there. The statue of a woman at the memorialis important for another reason: if itwere not for the nurses in the war effort,all of whom volunteered to serve, there would be thousands more names on the wall. That alone is worth the statue's weight in gold.

I hope the Fine Arts Commission will overlook its concern about "art" and answer the country's call to place a statue of a woman at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

-- Sandie Fauriol is former director of the National Salute to Vietnam Veterans of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

I agree wholeheartedly with J. Carter Brown's opposition to the addition of a second sculpture to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and his assessment of the memorial as "one of the most moving and artistically powerful memorials ever built."

That all categories of veterans cannot be depicted is certainly true, but I would addto Brown's argument that the memorial, even in its original form, without the statue of the three soldiers, clearly acknowledged all who served in Vietnam. Furthermore, most viewers, I think, are moved to remembrance of and sorrow for all who have served -- and suffered -- in history's countless wars.

Those who wish to disturb the moving simplicity of this memorial would do well to visit the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor. Though it only mentions the men who perished aboard the Arizona, that memorial speaks equally well for all who served the United States.

-- Dan Thisdell