When Maya Lin’s proposal for the Vietnam War memorial was first proposed, there were a variety of responses. While some people liked the concept, others opposed it vehemently. Lin’s concept had enough support, though, to ensure that it was actually implemented with only a very few changes.
The major opposition to Lin’s concept came from conservative groups. They felt that Lin’s concept was anti-war and did not properly honor those who fought and died in Vietnam. Many of these people wanted a more traditional memorial. They wanted something like a statue depicting actual soldiers, preferably in a heroic or noble pose. They wanted more clearly patriotic elements like American flags. In other words, they wanted a memorial that was more clearly positive about the war and which was more traditional in the way that it honored those who served.
There was enough support, though, that Lin’s design was implemented with only a few changes. A statue and a flag were added, but they were not placed in such a way as to radically change Lin’s design.