Why did Maya Lin's design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial initially get a negative response?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main reason for the initial negative reaction to Maya Lin's design was the fact that the design was so unconventional.  Because of this, it did not seem to sufficiently honor and celebrate the soldiers who fought and died in the war.

Typical war memorials are more heroic and typically show soldiers in them.  By contrast, Lin's design was very spare and minimalistic.  This was seen as an affront by some veterans.  It was partly in response to these complaints that a more conventional statue by Frederic Hart was included in the overall design of the memorial site.