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Biographies Unit Biographies

Maya Lin 1959-
Architect

As a young woman, Maya Lin wanted to become an architect. An architect is someone who designs or draws plans for buildings. Lin went to college to learn how to design buildings. She was 21 when she entered a contest. Lin had to make a plan for a monument. The monument would honor Vietnam veterans. Veterans are soldiers who have served in the army or navy, for example. The memorial would be in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of people entered the contest.

Lin's design won. She made a V-shaped monument. Its walls have the names of soldiers who died or were missing during the Vietnam War. Many people visit the memorial in Washington, D.C. It is called “The Wall” Families and friends of the people who died can see and touch the names of their loved ones.

Lin has designed other monuments too. She made plans for the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama and a monument to honor women at Yale University.

Comprehension Check

What type of contest did Maya Lin enter?

Critical Thinking

Do you think the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has helped people heal after the war? In what way?