Items Left at The Wall

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flag, tri-fold United States national

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 18727
  • Accession Date:7/21/2010
  • Item Summary:Triangularly folded, also referred to as a, "tri-fold", United States national 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 by an anonymous donor between June - July 2010. (Source: Annin- www.annin.com/resources_flag_folding.asp)

flag, United States national

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 06733
  • Accession Date:6/11/1991
  • Item Summary:United States national flag, also referred to as an "American" flag, dedicated to U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) Fred Monroe Owens. A handwritten inscription upon the hoist edge of the flag bears SFC Owens' name. The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor between May - June 1991.

patch, commemorative Vietnam Service Medal


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 10898
  • Accession Date:5/24/1989
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: JAMES R BAUDER
  • Item Summary:Non-military issue, commemorative Vietnam Service Medal patch, subdued, dedicated to U.S. Navy Captain (CAPT) James Reginald Bauder. The patch bears an embroidered representation of the design at the obverse surface of the Vietnam Service Medal (i.e. an oriental dragon behind a grove of bamboo trees above the inscription, "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM [_ _ _ _]ICE". The artifact was left at The Wall along with a handwritten note (VIVE (10897)), a non-military issue, commemorative POW*MIA patch (VIVE (10899)), and a tri-fold United States national flag (VIVE (10900)) by William "Tiny" Bauder on May 18, 1989.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00058
  • Record Component Qty:1
  • Item Description:NON-MILITARY ISSUE, COMMEMORATIVE VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL PATCH, SUBDUED. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF AN OD GREEN AND BLACK FABRIC PATCH IN THE FORM OF AN OD GREEN, CIRCULARLY SHAPED DISC WITH AN EMBROIDERED BLACK BORDER. AT THE CENTER OF THE DISC IS AN EMBROIDERED BLACK REPRESENTATION OF THE DESIGN AT THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL (I.E. AN ORIENTAL DRAGON BEHIND A GROVE OF BAMBOO TREES ABOVE THE INSCRIPTION, "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM SERVICE"). A LENGTH OF LOOSE, BLACK THREAD (APPROX. 7.0CM), ALSO REFERRED TO AS A, "PIGTAIL", IS OBSERVED ISSUING FROM THE LOWER, CENTER EDGE OF THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE AND IS AFFIXED TO THAT SURFACE VIA A SEGMENT OF ADHESIVE MASKING TAPE. THE OBJECT IS ASSOCIATED, AND WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED, WITH VIVE (10897, 10899, & 10900).
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the embroidered inscription at the obverse object surface is transcribed in full, as follows: "REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM [ ]ICE"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 3.9g
    • Item Length: N/A
    • Item Width: N/A
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: 7.75cm (Diameter) / 24.3cm (Circumference) / 0.25cm (Thickness)
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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.