The Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall was designed by Maya Ying Lin. Lin was the winner of a national design competition held by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which ended on March 31, 1981.
Maya Ying Lin's design was chosen from over 1,400 entries when the anonymous competition ended. At the time of selection, Lin, a native of Athens, Ohio, and a student at Yale University, was 21 years old. Lin's design was chosen for its meditative and non-political nature that harmonized well with the Washington Mall. The polished black granite was chosen to reflect the surrounding Constitutional Gardens and the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.