Items Left at The Wall

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flag, tri-fold United States national

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 04440
  • Accession Date:9/23/1986
  • Item Summary:Triangularly folded United States national flag, also referred to as an, "American" or a, "tri-fold" flag. The custom of folding the United States national flag into the shape of a triangle bestows unique honor and respect upon the flag as a symbol. National Flag Foundation (NFF), the Naval Library, The Institute of Heraldry (TIOH), and several other sources have searched for documentation on flag folding, although detailed information regarding its origin remains largely un-established. NFF and Dr. Harold Langley, former curator at the Smithsonian Institution, theorize that the practice probably developed during World War I when patriotism was high and the United States national flag was universally embraced as a national symbol. In 1923, as a consequence of this sustained patriotic fervor and the increased use of the flag, a conference of veterans' organizations and patriotic associations convened in Washington, DC. to create a code of etiquette for the flag. Their intent was to establish traditions ensuring respectful treatment of the flag by all Americans, including the many immigrants entering the country at that time. Furthermore, a well-known ceremony exists for flag folding, often attributed to the U.S. Air Force Academy, in which each of the twelve (12) folds of the triangularly folded flag is assigned a symbolic meaning. NFF presents its own special flag folding ceremony, incorporating several of the virtues attributed to the colors of the flag as specified in 1782 by Charles Thomson (then Secretary of Congress), and recommends that this ceremony be read aloud prior to the actual folding of the flag. The first (1st) fold stands for liberty, the second (2nd) fold represents unity, the third (3rd) fold stands for justice, the fourth (4th) fold symbolizes perseverance, the fifth (5th) fold represents hardiness, the sixth (6th) fold stands for valor, the seventh (7th) fold symbolizes purity, the eighth (8th) fold represents innocence, the ninth (9th) fold signifies sacrifice, the tenth (10th) fold stands for honor, the eleventh (11th) fold symbolizes independence, and the twelfth (12th) fold represents truth. The flag draping a casket at a military funeral is typically folded in this honorary configuration and is presented as a token of respect and gratitude to the family of the deceased on behalf of a grateful nation. The artifact was left at The Wall along with an associated & affixed military issue, U.S. Army 35th Infantry Regiment coat of arms insignia pin (VIVE (4438)), an associated & affixed military issue, U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia patch (VIVE (4439)), a commemorative Municipal Flag of the City of Chicago fabric patch (VIVE (4441)), and a color photographic print (VIVE (4442)) by an anonymous donor between July - September 1986. (Source: Annin- www.annin.com/resources_flag_folding.asp)

print, color photographic

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 04442
  • Accession Date:9/23/1986
  • Item Summary:Color photographic print. The image depicts the laying of memorial tributes and remembrances at the foot of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's (VVMF) The Wall That Heals (TWTH) traveling exhibition. A handwritten inscription at the reverse surface further identifies the location, date, and context of the image as, "CHICAGO / JUNE 1986 / WELCOME HOME PARADE / MOVING WALL SITE". The artifact was left at The Wall along with an associated military issue, U.S. Army 35th Infantry Regiment coat of arms insignia pin (VIVE (4438)), a military issue, U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve insignia patch (VIVE (4439)), a tri-fold United States national flag (VIVE (4440)), and a commemorative Municipal Flag of the City of Chicago fabric patch (VIVE (4441)) by an anonymous donor between July - September 1986.

flag, United States national


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 06556
  • Accession Date:4/28/1989
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: SHARON A LANE
  • Item Summary:United States national flag, also referred to as an "American" flag, dedicated to U.S. Army First Lieutenant (1LT) and Army nurse Sharon Ann Lane. A handwritten inscription upon the flagpole or staff dedicates the flag to 1LT Lane from Phyllis Sparks. The artifact was left at The Wall by Phyllis Sparks in March 1989.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00056
  • Record Component Qty:1
  • Item Description:UNITED STATES NATIONAL FLAG, ALSO REFERRED TO AS AN, ÔÇťAMERICAN" FLAG, DEDICATED TO U.S. ARMY FIRST LIEUTENANT (1LT) AND ARMY NURSE SHARON ANN LANE. THE OBJECT IS COMPRISED OF RED, WHITE, AND BLUE POLYESTER-BLEND [?] FABRIC WITH A BLUE CANTON CONTAINING FIFTY (50) WHITE, FIVE (5)-POINTED STARS, A FIELD OR GROUND BEARING THIRTEEN (13) ALTERNATING, HORIZONTAL RED AND WHITE STRIPES, AND A HOIST EDGE AFFIXED TO A LENGTH OF WOODEN DOWEL (APPROX. 27.0CM) VIA TWO (2) METAL STAPLES WHICH SERVES AS A FLAGPOLE OR STAFF. THE DOWEL IS PRESENTLY TOPPED WITH AN AFFIXED GOLD PAINTED, WOODEN STAFF ORNAMENT OR FINIAL. HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT UPON THE LENGTH OF THE WOODEN DOWEL IS AN INSCRIPTION DEDICATED TO, "SHARON A. LANE", FROM, "PHYLLIS SPARKS", AND DATED, "MARCH 1989".
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten inscription upon the flagpole/staff or dowel is transcribed in full, as follows: "SHARON A. LANE / FROM - PHYLLIS SPARKS - / STREATOR, ILLINOIS / MARCH 1989 / (25)"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 5.5g
    • Item Length: 10.5cm
    • Item Width: 13.0cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
  • Item Notes:Dimensions listed above are for the flag surface only. Measurements for the flagpole/staff or dowel are as follows:

    [Flagpole]:
    27.0cm (L) X 0.5cm (Diameter) X 1.6cm (Circumference)
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Items left at The Wall - The Virtual Collection

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982. Shortly thereafter, visitors to the Memorial began leaving items in memoriam to those killed and missing service members listed on The Wall. These artifacts now collectively comprise the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection -- a museum collection of more than 400,000 items held in the public trust by the National Park Service. Today, this Collection is among the largest and most actively researched collections in the National Capital Region.

The Collection is jointly curated by National Mall and Memorial Parks and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). The VVMF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies upon public donations to continue its work, and receives no federal funding.