In 1995 I researched the Vietnam Wall because we were doing a peace memorial project here in Santa Barbara. I was trying to understand the opposition that we were facing from many organizations around town about where we could place a memorial to a little Japanese girl victim of Hiroshima.
I watched a documentary about Maya Lin the Chinese student who designed the Vietnam Memorial in DC. The major opposition against Maya Lin’s Wall design was from James Watt, the famous Secretary of Interior and Pat Buchanan. They wanted large flags and heroic sculptures.
Other opposition was about an Asian-American designing it.
Maya Lin wanted the wall to be a place of healing and it has been heralded around the world as one of the finest war memorials.
I was moved watching the documentary of the bearded, weeping, hugging and some wounded vet visitors at the wall. I cried when I finally visited the Wall itself and it wasn’t about my war. Many Vietnam vets I knew died soon after that war.