What objections were raised and how were compromises made to Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial we see on the mall today?
One of the objections raised was the selection of Maya Lin as the artist. She was only 21 years old and a student at Yale. She designed a v-shaped, sunken wall of black stone engraved with the names of those killed in action. The fact that she was young, a woman, Asian-American and that her design did not look like a traditional war memorial added to the controversy.
Veterans were especially vocal about the design. They believed that it looked like a "black scar hidden in a hole, as if out of shame." They wanted to change the color to white and add a sculpture of wounded soldiers and a flag in the center. The protesters, which included a congressman and the Secretary of the Interior, issued an ultimatum: make the changes or the project won't be built.
In the end, a compromise was reached. The wall remained black and the sculpture and flag pole were incorporated two years after its dedication (1982), but off to the side. In 1993, a second statute commemorating women who served in Vietnam goes up beside it.