What objections were raised and how were compromises made to Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial we see on the mall today?

giz2000 | Student

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.