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Wednesday, November 27, 1996

9:30 p.m. ET

(check local listings)

- Special Chronicles Ten Years in Life of Architect-Sculptor of Vietnam Veterans' Memorial -

The Washington, DC, Vietnam Veterans' Memorial was one of the most bitterly disputed public monuments in American history. Architect sculptor Maya Lin was thrust into the eye of the storm when her design for the memorial was chosen in 1981. Withstanding bitter attacks, the 21-year-old college student held her ground with clarity and grace. In MAYA LIN: A STRONG, CLEAR VISION - A P.O.V. SPECIAL, filmmaker Freida Lee Mock chronicles a decade in the life of this visionary artist. The 90-minute Academy Award-winning film airs on PBS Wednesday, November 27, 1996, 9:30 p.m. ET (check local listings).

The film opens with footage of the hailstorm that followed the selection of Lin's unconventional design - a starkly simple slash of polished black granite inscribed with the 57,661 names of the Americans who died in Vietnam. Political commentator Patrick J. Buchanan and Representative Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) led the fight, circulating letters alleging that one of the jurors on the selection committee was a communist and that four of the jurors had been active anti-war protesters. Some detractors wanted the Memorial's color changed from black to white. Protesters also lobbied for a flagpole to be planted at the vertex of the walls.

Lin withstood the bitter attacks and prevailed with her original design. The Memorial's dedication in 1982 was a profound, cathartic moment - not just for those who fought in Vietnam, but for the entire United States. Since its completion, Americans have flocked to the site to grieve, to contemplate the consequences of war and to heal. In one of the film's most moving segments, veterans and surviving family members search for the names of their loved ones, arranged chronologically by date of death.

"If you can't accept death, you'll never get over it," says Lin. "So what the Memorial's about is honesty. ... You have to accept, and admit that this pain has occurred, in order for it to be healed, in order for it to be cathartic. ... All I was saying in this piece was the cost of war is these individuals. And we have to remember them first."

MAYA LIN: A STRONG, CLEAR VISION - A P.O.V. SPECIAL follows Lin as she works on a variety of projects, tackling such diverse issues as world peace, with her design for the Peace Chapel at Pennsylvania's Junita College, and race relations at the Civil Rights Memorial she created for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. The film features behind-the-scene footage of Lin at work in her studio, offering viewers a glimpse into the mind of this singular artist.

Underwriters: The John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Public Television Viewers, PBS and Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Producer: The American Documentary, Inc.
Presenters: KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston, Thirteen/WNET New York and National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA)
Producer/Director/Writer: Freida Lee Mock
Producer: Terry Sanders
Executive Producers: Lisa Heller, P.O.V. and Eileen Harris Norton, "Maya Lin"
Editor: William T. Cartwright, Sr.
Composer: Charles Bernstein
Directors of Photography: Don Lenzer and Eddie Marritz

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