At the age of twenty one, a female undergraduate at Yale University named Maya Lin submitted her design for the Vietnam Memorial. Her idea for the memorial was extremely unique and controversial. After long discussions by a panel, it was chosen for construction. The design that she submitted was one that was very different in comparison to other memorials, and it was one that has a tendency to leave a lot of questions on the minds of the visitors. On the face of the memorial there is a list of all those who died or are missing in the order by which they were lost. It could seem to some one who did not understand the incident that the monument honors only those lost, but that is incorrect. Maya Lin¹s design formed into the most unique memorial structure of its kind, which honors all who served in the Vietnam War (Colliers 23: 137).
The official name given to the monument was the Vietnam Veterans memorial. In this name alone it is clear that it was not erected for the sole purpose of honoring only those who were lost in the conflict. The term KIA was the abbreviation used for those people who were killed in action, and these people represent 47,000 of the 58,000 names on the wall. The other 11,000 were soldiers who died from crashes, snake bites, illnesses, and other non-combat related deaths (Olson 227). There is no distinction made between the two groups on the monument. The structure is a v-shaped polished granite slab that unlike other monuments has no message of honor or patriotism. All of those subjects are left to the thoughts of the beholder. People often find therapy in locating the name of a companion or a loved one. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is by far the most emotional moving war monument in Washington, and that alone makes it very unique(Collier¹s 138).
In comparison with other monuments, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is vastly different. A point of comparison could be the Marine Corps War Memorial, otherwise known as the Iwo Jima monument....
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