Items Left at The Wall

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flag, United States national

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00622
  • Accession Date:2/12/1985
  • Item Summary:United States national flag, also referred to as an "American" flag. A handwritten inscription upon the flagpole/staff reads, " "JOHNNY K" / "REST BRO" / DIRTY DOZ / LARAW[illegible] / HON. H." The artifact was left at The Wall by an unidentified donor between November 1984 - February 1985.

letter, handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00655
  • Accession Date:4/18/1985
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter dedicated to U.S. Army Sergeant (SGT) William Reed Stocks. The letter from SGT Stocks' mother, is signed, "Written by a mother who lost her son in Vietnam but still cares about those who are still unaccounted for. / Eleanor Wimbish", bears the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) Wall honoree & donor information, "William R. Stocks / (SPANKY) / Mother / Eleanor Wimbish" handwritten at the reverse surface, and opens with the line, "In our home, in our family and in our lives the Vietnam war will never end." In content, Ms. Wimbish expresses the personal anguish of losing her child in the lines, "I'm the one whose heart broke when told my Billy had died in a helicopter crash. / And now I'm the one who still cries at night because of all the memories I have, that will never die." She concludes her letter with a plea for assistance on behalf of all American POW*MIA's still held in Vietnam which reads, "They are Americans. / They are husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and much, much more. / Please help to get these men back home and end the suffering for them, their families and all their loved ones." The artifact was left at Panel 32W of The Wall by Eleanor Wimbish, mother of SGT Stocks, between February - April 1985.

letter, handwritten


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00644
  • Accession Date:4/18/1985
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: WILLIAM R STOCKS
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter dedicated to U.S. Army Sergeant (SGT) William Reed Stocks. The letter is headed, "A mother never forgets", is addressed, "Dear Bill", is signed, "Mom", bears the donor information for, "Mother- / Eleanor Wimbish" at the reverse surface, and opens with the lines, "Today is February 13, 1985. / I sit here writing to you with the tears falling quietly down my face while outside the rain is hitting on the window as if to tell me the whole world is crying with me as if it, too, feels my pain." In content, SGT Stocks' mother relates her difficulty in getting through the anniversary of her son's death, particularly considering that the day is also SGT Stocks' father's & nephew's birthday, and states to this effect that, "This time of the year is so hard for me for I will never forget the exact moment when I heard of your death and the pain as my heart broke, on that never to be forgotten day." Ms. Wimbish concludes her letter to her son with the line, "There are many changes in our lives, as the years go by, but the love we all have for you my son, my Billy will never change." The artifact was left at Panel 32W of The Wall by Eleanor Wimbish, mother of SGT Stocks, on February 13, 1985.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00007
  • Related Items: VIVE 00655 - letter, handwritten
    VIVE 00657 - letter & poem, handwritten
    VIVE 00705 - letter, handwritten
    VIVE 00815 - letter, handwritten
  • Record Component Qty:1
  • Item Description:HANDWRITTEN LETTER DEDICATED TO U.S. ARMY SERGEANT (SGT) WILLIAM REED STOCKS. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER HANDWRITTEN IN BLACK/BLUE INK AND BLOCK/CURSIVE SCRIPT & ARABIC NUMERALS UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER. THE PAPER IS PRESENTLY AFFIXED (VIA NUMEROUS STRIPS OF CLEAR, ADHESIVE SCOTCH TAPE) TO AN UNDERLYING, RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SEGMENT OF CARDBOARD WRAPPED WITH HALLMARK BRAND WHITE GIFT TISSUE PAPER REPEATEDLY PRINTED WITH THE PHRASE, "HALLMARK" AND THE HALLMARK CORPORATE LOGO (I.E. A CROWN) IN GOLD INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT IN A GRAPHIC MOTIF. THE CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE BEARS TWO (2) AFFIXED, HEART SHAPED, RED PAPER DECALS AT THE UPPER, PROPER RIGHT- AND LEFT-HAND CORNERS OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE, AND THE ENTIRE OBJECT (LETTER & CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE) IS PRESENTLY ENCASED WITHIN CLEAR POLY-PLASTIC SHEETING SECURED AT THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE VIA STRIPS OF CLEAR, ADHESIVE PACKING TAPE. THE LETTER IS HEADED, "A MOTHER NEVER FORGETS", IS ADDRESSED, "DEAR BILL", IS SIGNED, "MOM", BEARS THE DONOR INFORMATION, "MOTHER- / ELEANOR WIMBISH / 205 6TH AVE. SE. / GLEN BURNIE, MD. / 21061" HANDWRITTEN UPON THE LOWER, CENTER EDGE OF THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE, AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "TODAY IS FEBRUARY 13, 1985. / I SIT HERE WRITING TO YOU WITH THE TEARS FALLING QUIETLY DOWN MY FACE WHILE OUTSIDE THE RAIN IS HITTING ON THE WINDOW AS IF TO TELL ME THE WHOLE WORLD IS CRYING WITH ME AS IF IT, TOO, FEELS MY PAIN." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR OF THE LETTER BEGINS BY COMMUNICATING TO HER SON HOW DIFFICULT THIS TIME OF YEAR IS FOR HER, "[...] FOR I WILL NEVER FORGET THE EXACT MOMENT WHEN I HEARD OF YOUR DEATH AND THE PAIN AS MY HEART BROKE", NOTES THAT SHE STILL CANNOT QUITE BELIEVE THAT HE IS GONE, AND EXPRESSES THE WISH THAT SHE COULD SIMPLY SLEEP THROUGHOUT THE DAY ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF HER SON'S DEATH. THE AUTHOR GOES ON TO ACKNOWLEDGE, HOWEVER, THAT INCREDIBLY THE ANNIVERSARY OF SGT STOCKS' DEATH IS ALSO SGT STOCKS' FATHER'S AND NEPHEW'S BIRTHDAYS, AND THAT, "[...] I HAVE TO TRY NOT TO GIVE IN, TO [sic] MUCH, TO MY EMOTIONS AND FOR YOUR FATHERS [sic] SAKE MUST BE HAPPY WITH HIM ON HIS SPECIAL DAY." MS. WIMBISH SUBSEQUENTLY RELATES THE, "[...] NEVER ENDING PAIN OF LOSING YOU [SGT Stocks]", DRAWS A PARALLEL BETWEEN HER GRIEF AND THAT OF, "[...] THE 2,482 P.O.W./M.I.A.S AND THEIR FAMILIES", AND STATES HER HOPE THAT, "[...] THOSE WHO READ THIS WILL DO WHAT THEY CAN TO HELP END THIS TERRIBLE TRAGEDY FOR THESE MEN AND THEIR LOVED ONES, AND BRING THEM HOME." THE AUTHOR CLOSES HER LETTER IN WISHING THAT THINGS COULD BE DIFFERENT AND THAT SGT STOCKS COULD BE WITH HIS FAMILY, ASSURES SGT STOCKS OF, "[...] HOW MUCH WE STILL MISS YOU AND HOW MUCH WE LOVE YOU", AND CONCLUDES WITH THE LINE, "THERE ARE MANY CHANGES IN OUR LIVES, AS THE YEARS GO BY, BUT THE LOVE WE ALL HAVE FOR YOU MY SON, MY BILLY WILL NEVER CHANGE." THE OBJECT IS ASSOCIATED WITH VIVE (655, 657, 705, & 815).
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten & printed inscriptions upon the obverse and reverse object surfaces is transcribed in full, as follows: [Obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "A mother never forgets / Dear Bill, / Today is February 13, 1985. / I sit here writing to you with the tears falling quietly down my face while outside the rain is hitting on the window as if to tell me the whole world is crying with me as if it, too, feels my pain. / This time of the year is so hard for me for I will never forget the exact moment when I heard of your death and the pain as my heart broke, on that never to be forgotten day. / Even today I have a hard time really believing my big young son is no longer here. / Every year I wish I could sleep this day through for this is the hardest one for me to get through. / But this is your Father's birthday and you also have a nephew, Bryan, who was born on this day, 12 years after you died. / And with 2 very special people in my life, celebrating their birthdays, I have to try not to give in, to [sic] much, to my emotions and for your Fathers [sic] sake must be happy with him on his special day. / So instead of a long letter today, Bill, I am adding a story, of sorts, of my never ending pain of losing you and the pain the 2,482 P.O.W./M.I.A.,s and their families are still living with each and every day and my hopes that those who read this will do what they can to help end this terrible tragedy for these men and their loved ones, and bring them home. / I wish every day that things were different and you were still with us but that's not the way it is. / So I'll close for now but not before telling you how much we still miss you and how much we love you. / There are many changes in our lives, as the years go by, but the love we all have for you my son, my Billy will never change. / Mom" / [Reverse object surface, handwritten inscription] "Mother- / Eleanor Wimbish / 205 6th Ave. SE. / Glen Burnie, Md. / 21061" / [Reverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "Hallmark [printed repeatedly in a graphic motif]"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 50.0g
    • Item Length: 32.7cm
    • Item Width: 23.0cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: 1.0cm (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.