How to honor victims? Ask Maya Lin

As America struggles to honor those killed on 9/11, we looked to the past for guidance

As America decides how best to memorialize those killed on 9/11, we decided to look to the past for guidance by revisiting the artistry of Maya Lin.

At the tender age of 21, Lin won a public design competition with her concept for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Her design was a V-shaped wall of black granite, carved into the ground and etched with the names of 57,692 men and women who died in the Vietnam War. She was a Yale undergrad at the time.

In 1982, Lin told Morley Safer how a concept of "quiet dignity" was behind her design. But for many Americans, Lin's youth and her Asian background mattered more than her design concept.

"I would say if you were being rational and logical, there would be some people who fought in the war who would really hate the idea that someone of my descent would have designed a memorial, the Vietnam Memorial," she told Safer.

Safer followed Lin back to the art studio 18 years later, when most of the fallout had subsided. She recently served as jurist of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition. Here's a look back at Lin's 60 Minutes debut.


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