Research Writing: Maya Lin and the impact of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C
Maya Lin, the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. was a student at Yale University when she designed the Memorial. What's funny is, she did not originally design the Memorial for the contest Washington D.C. had put out for the Vietnam Memorial. She designed it for a grade for one of her classes, later submitting it to the contest and not expecting any chance to win. Maya Lin had already done research on memorials for a prior project for the class and while designing the Vietnam Memorial she made a point to say, "I made a conscious decision not to do any specific research on the Vietnam War and the political turmoil surrounding it. I felt that the politics had eclipsed the veterans, their service, and their lives. I wanted to create a memorial that everyone would be able to respond to, regardless of whether one thought our country should or should not have participated in the war." It's truly amazing that Maya Lin did no intensive research on the Vietnam War and now her memorial design is one of the most popular and sought after memorials in the world, let alone in Washington D.C. Lin just focused on the "power of a name". She felt that we were living in culture that was afraid of death. She talks about her goal in creating the memorial, In the design of the memorial, a fundamental goal was to be honest about death, since we must accept that loss in order to begin to overcome it. "The pain of the loss will always be there, it will always hurt, but we must acknowledge the death in order to move on." The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a very simple design, but the impact and the power of names leaves an everlasting impact on it's visitors.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
I also wanted to share that Maya Lin has done work with the Ohio State University's Wexner Center. She designed a piece called "Groundswell" pictured here.
You can learn more about this piece by following this link http://wexarts.org/public-programs/maya-lin-artists-talk