Maya Ying Lin Questions and Answers

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In designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, what process did Maya Lin use to bring her concept to reality?

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Maya Lin was a young, 21-year old college student when her design for a new memorial to honor those who served in Vietnam was selected from among 1,400 competitors.  The choice, made by a committee appointed for the purpose of conducting such a competition and selecting a winning entry, was very controversial at the time, with some veterans, political activists, and others critical of the concept of a wall listing the names of those killed in action during that long, divisive conflict.  Seen as a political statement against U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia, those critics derided it, in the words of one, as a “black gash of shame and sorrow.”  While public reaction, including among veterans and their survivors, has proven the critics wrong in the years since its completion, Lin’s concept remains a fascinating and emotionally evocative contribution to the architecture of the national mall in Washington, D.C.

The process by which Maya Lin brought her concept to reality begins,...

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