“They will cry.”

n 1979, Congress grants a Vietnam War veterans’ committee the right to build a memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The committee puts the design out for competition convening a blue-ribbon panel of architects, sculptors, and landscape architects to evaluate more than 1,400 submissions. When the winner is announced, no one is more surprised than the student architect herself, Maya Lin, a 20-year-old Yale undergraduate. — PBS

The panel was moved by the simplicity, honesty, and power of Lin’s design: a V-shaped, sunken wall of black stone, with the names of those killed in action engraved in chronological order.

“I didn’t make a monument, I made a book and put it out for view. You don’t read a book the same way you read a billboard, you read one on one intimately. The name is the object so what left is you and the name.”  — Maya Lin, Architect and Artist: Talks at GS

“I had a general idea that I wanted to describe a journey…a journey that would make you experience death and where you’d have to be an observer, where you could never really fully be with the dead. It wasn’t going to be something that was going to say, ‘It’s all right, it’s all over,’ because it’s not.” Lin said.   – PBS

“The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is now the most visited monument in Washington, D.C. Over 10,000 people a day visit it. Among them are some skeptics, including hardened veterans, who often find themselves moved to tears.”  —The Art Story

Lin’s design was non-conventional and radical at that time.

In 2007, the American Institute of Architects ranked the memorial No. 10 on their list of America’s Favorite Architecture. However, the artist’s architectural design was controversial…   

When Lin first visited the proposed location for the memorial, she wrote, “I imagined taking a knife and cutting into the earth, opening it up, an initial violence and pain that in time would heal.”

When asked what people would do at the wall, Lin said with sincerity, “They will cry.”

Taking an amazing photo is not by accident, the photographer has to spent time researching and preparing, and be incredibly patient. Paulie’s photos in his ” A Morning Run in DC” are amazing. He described, “Morning light is fleeting, and realizing that I could lose the moment in seconds I sprinted the third of a mile to the west end of the pool.  Caught my breath and caught the image.” Take a look!

Submtting this post to Tina’s Lens Artists #40: Something Different.

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