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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Cooper-Lecky Architects, Maya Lin

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With its massive panels cutting a broad gull wing into the northwest corner of the Mall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial diverges abruptly from the studied classicism of most Washington landmarks. Its stark minimalism set off controversy when the design was first unveiled in 1981—one critic called it a “shameful degrading ditch.” But time has proved otherwise: Since its opening 26 years ago, the wall has clocked 20,000 visitors a day, making it the most frequented monument in the country. Read on >>

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