Round Three - The Political Controversy: May 1981 - March 1982
I believe that the design selected for the memorial in an open competition is pointedly insulting to the sacrifices made for their country by all Vietnam veterans. By this will we be remembered: a black gash of shame and sorrow, hacked into the national visage that is the Mall. --Tom Carhart, October 24, 1981
Controversy begins almost immediately. Tom Carhart -- at the Committee of Fine Arts meeting in October 1981 -- typifies the criticism when he calls the design a "black gash of shame," an insult to the Vietnam Veterans. Henry Hyde leads congressional opposition, and it looks like the project will stall. Senator Warner convenes a meeting at which a compromise is reached in agreement that a statue and a flag will be added to the Lin design. Groundbreaking takes place March 26, 1982, in anticipation of a Veterans Day completion of the Wall -- the statue and flag will come later.