Another Design for the Monument?

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

An aerial view of the Memorial, designed by Maya Lin. 

"The Three Soldiers" statue

Frederick Hart's "The Three Soldiers," unveiled in 1984.

Jan Scruggs at Vietnam Memorial.

Jan Scruggs stands at the completed Vietnam Memorial that was only possible through his founding efforts of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

The Vietnam Women's Memorial

The Vietnam Women's Memorial, designed by Glenna Goodacre, was unveiled in 1993. 

The impact of such backlash, from all political segments, resulted in a “serious site compromise to ensure that [the Wall] would be built at all.” In response to developing opposition, Interior Secretary Watt halted construction on the memorial’s offered permit, in January 1982. A compromise was soon reached, in March, in the agreement that the Memorial site include an additional sculpture and flag. This came in the form of Frederick Hart’s monument, The Three Soldiers. The extra statue, a “representational sculpture,” was to be designed by Frederick Hart, a sculptor whose work reflects the patterns of heroism, patriotism, and gallantry of previous American memorials and statues. The classical and heroic traits of Hart’s proposal was the antithesis of Lin’s model. Hart’s bronze design expressed the brothership and trust between Vietnam veterans.

With a height of eight feet, three soldiers stand on a pedestal, distantly shadowed by a 50 foot flagpole. Hart’s sculpture provides the personal imagery of Vietnam, while Lin’s design suggests the destruction of war; together, the memorials allow visitors to create a meaning of the Vietnam war. Psychologist Adrienne Gans suggests that Hart’s statute allows for a “[p]assive, non-interactive gazing” that contrasts with the interactive experience of the Wall. Seemingly, the monuments further reveal the unsettled controversy and divisiveness of the war: the construction of memorialization was difficult, as memory of the war differed among Americans. However, the monuments together complement and further reflect the political, social, and cultural climate of the Vietnam War, both in America and Vietnam. “What is memorialized,” Maya Lin has said, “is that people still cannot resolve the war nor can they separate the issues and the politics from it.”

With the agreement in place, the construction of both memorials “continued with disagreements” of position and placement. Finally, both Memorials were officially dedicated together by President Reagan, in November 1984. That month, in a New York Times article, Samuel G. Freedmen observed “[t]his is a nation, after all, that could not agree on a single memorial to the Vietnam War in Washington. It needed both the somber wall, engraved with the names of the fallen, and a statue of three soldiers, innocents who look one year out of the backfield of a high-school football team.” Today, this sentiment is still echoed: the completion of two opposing American war monuments easily reflects the polarised war they intend to memorialize.

Additionally, a Vietnam Women's Memorial was included and unveiled in 1993. Designed by Glenna Goodacre, it dedicates the war effort of American nurses in Vietnam.