What were the reactions or responses to the finished Vietnam War memorial?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Although there was a fair amount of controversy surrounding the design of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, the reactions and responses to the finished memorial were uniformly positive.  The memorial has become a well-loved national icon and one with a deep emotional meaning for many Americans.

The design of the memorial was controversial because it was deemed to be insufficiently patriotic.  It was called by some a “deep gash of shame.”  Conservatives were very angry about this because they felt that the American people had been to blame for not supporting the war in Vietnam or the soldiers who fought in it at the time of the war.  They felt this design was further evidence of disrespect for the soldiers and the war.

However, once the memorial was finished, it became very popular.  People were emotionally moved by the simplicity of the memorial.  It became a must-see stop for many visiting Washington, D.C.  The respect that people had for the memorial was immediately clear from the number of tributes left at the wall to those whose names were on it.  The respect has also been shown by the popularity of the travelling, scaled-down replica of the memorial.

Thus, the reactions to the finished memorial were uniformly positive.

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