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In 1979, a Vietnam vet named Jan Scruggs had a vision to create a memorial to the 2.7 million Americans who served in the nation's longest and most controversial war. Despite initial cynicism and opposition, the Memorial was built in 1982. The black granite wall, designed by Yale undergraduate Maya Lin, was called a black gash of shame and stirred up so much controversy that the whole project was almost stopped. Every year, millions of visitors visit the iconic wall, some to pay tribute and others to heal old wounds.
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