When Maya Lin was announced as the winning designer of the projected Viet Nam War Memorial, I am sure I read or heard that she was of Vietnamese “extraction.” (an old term like “nationality” which we have replaced with “ethnicity.”). I thought that was ironic in that rather than seeing the Vietnamese as our allies, most Americans thought of them as “the enemy.”
It turns out she was born and raised in the U.S. and is of Chinese heritage (another term we now use because it is more accurate [barely] than ethnicity since someone may have absorbed no features of another culture.
Disregarding all that, I am pleased that the memorial has achieved marked acceptance. I have nothing against the more realist portrayal of GIs but the deeper grief visited on the American people by that war is embodied in that deep “gash in our ground.”