Items Left at The Wall

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currency, US one dollar

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00691
  • Accession Date:11/12/1985
  • Item Summary:U.S. Government issue, one (1) dollar bank note, serial number, "C 53481287 D", series 1981. The currency note bears a handwritten inscription at the reverse surface reading, "Remember me / Here is your buck - sorry I couldn't save more of you - but they shot me too / Sorry for the waste - Fuck I'm just sorry / RIP / Woody". The artifact was left at The Wall by a Vietnam veteran identified only as, "Woody" between August - November 1985.

cap, commemorative USS Buchanan (DDG-14) baseball

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00711
  • Accession Date:2/12/1985
  • Item Summary:Non-military issue, commemorative U.S. Navy USS Buchanan (DDG-14) baseball cap. The U.S. Navy vessel call sign, "DDG-14" is embroidered upon the exterior surface of the cap crown, while the phrase, "SHORT" (most likely a reference [?] to a, "short-timer", a colloquial expression for a service member whose term of enlistment has nearly expired) is handwritten upon the under-surface of the cap brim. Launched on 11 May 1960 and commissioned 7 February 1962 the USS Buchanan was the thirteenth (13th) ship in the Charles F. Adams class of guided missile destroyers and the third (3rd) ship in the Navy to bear the name. In 1965, the USS Buchanan, along with three (3) other destroyers of Destroyer Division 152 (COMDESDIV 152), was regularly dispatched North of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at night on reconnaissance missions. These were the first (1st) U.S. Naval missions North of the DMZ since the Gulf of Tonkin Incidents of early August 1964. Last homeported in San Diego, California, the USS Buchanan was decommissioned on 1 October 1991 and stricken from the Navy list on 20 November 1992. The vessel was one of four (1 of 4) decommissioned ships that were sunk as targets during RIMPAC 2000. The sinking of the ships was conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, North of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, and focused on honing weapons' firing skills and proficiency. Missile firing and torpedo firing exercises to sink the USS Buchanan started 13 June 2000. Three (3) Hellfire hits, three (3) Harpoon hits, and a twenty-four hundred pound (2,400 lb) laser-guided bomb hit were not enough to sink the ship. The job was finally done by two hundred pounds (200 lbs) of explosive charges set by an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team so that the USS Buchanan sank on 14 June 2000. The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor between November 1984 - February 1985. (Source: USS Buchanan (DDG 14)- www.navysite.de/dd/ddg14.htm)

letter, handwritten


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00705
  • 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 from SGT Stocks' mother Eleanor Wimbish, is addressed, "Dear Bill", is signed, "Mom", and opens with the lines, "Today is Easter Sunday 1985. / It is early as I write this letter to you." In her letter, Ms. Wimbish informs SGT Stocks of an Easter visit from her grandchildren, "Bryan age 4 and Billy age 2", reminisces about Easter holidays past with her departed son, and states that she, "[...] just had to say how much I miss you and how much I love you." The author also acknowledges that her letters to SGT Stocks have drawn sufficient public attention to be featured in, "the June issue of Mc Calls' Magazine" in an article entitled, "LETTERS TO BILLY", and surmises that, "Its [sic] hard to believe that my writing of how much I miss you and love you are important enough to others for a magazine to tell about." Ms. Wimbish concludes her letter to her son with the lines, "So thanks Bill for the love, the joy, the happiness and all the good things that little boys are made of. / For without children, oh how empty my life would have been." The artifact was left at Panel 32W of The Wall by Eleanor Wimbish, mother of SGT Stocks, on the occasion of the Easter holiday, April 7, 1985.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00007
  • Related Items: VIVE 00644 - letter, handwritten
    VIVE 00655 - letter, handwritten
    VIVE 00657 - letter & poem, 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 BLUE INK AND CURSIVE/BLOCK SCRIPT & ARABIC NUMERALS UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACES OF TWO (2) RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEETS OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER. THE SHEETS ARE PRESENTLY AFFIXED (VIA NUMEROUS STRIPS OF CLEAR, ADHESIVE SCOTCH TAPE) SIDE-BY-SIDE TO AN UNDERLYING, RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SEGMENT OF BROWN CARDBOARD WRAPPED WITH WHITE GIFT TISSUE PAPER. THE ENTIRE OBJECT (LETTER SHEETS & 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 ADDRESSED, "DEAR BILL", IS SIGNED, "MOM", BEARS THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WALL LOCATION & DONOR INFORMATION, "WILLIAM R. STOCKS / 32 WEST / 29 LINE / MOTHER / ELEANOR WIMBISH" HANDWRITTEN UPON THE UPPER, PROPER RIGHT-HAND AND LOWER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNERS, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE, AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "TODAY IS EASTER SUNDAY 1985. / IT IS EARLY AS I WRITE THIS LETTER TO YOU." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR BEGINS HER LETTER BY DESCRIBING AN EASTER HOLIDAY VISIT FROM HER GRANDCHILDREN, "BRYAN AGE 4 AND BILLY AGE 2" & THEIR IMPENDING RECEIPT OF EASTER HOLIDAY BASKETS, AND STATES THAT, "[...] THERE IS NOTHING LIKE HAVING LITTLE CHILDREN AROUND TO WARM YOUR HEART." THE AUTHOR GOES ON TO REMINISCE ABOUT SGT STOCKS' CHILDHOOD, RECALLS THE GREAT JOY HE AND HIS SIBLINGS TOOK IN OPENING EASTER BASKETS AND, "STUFFING YOURSELVES WITH CANDY", AND ANTICIPATES RELIVING MANY OF THESE HAPPY MEMORIES WHILE SPENDING TIME DURING THE HOLIDAY WITH HER GRANDCHILDREN. MS. WIMBISH SUBSEQUENTLY TELLS HER SON THAT SHE, "[...] JUST HAD TO SAY HOW MUCH I MISS YOU AND HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU", ADMITS THAT WRITING TO HER DEPARTED SON BRINGS HER CLOSER TO HIM AND FULFILLS A DEEP NEED IN HER LIFE, AND ASSURES SGT STOCKS, "FOR EVEN THO [sic] YOU ARE NOT WITH US, YOU ARE STILL A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF OUR LIVES AND THE GOOD MEMORIES YOU LEFT, FILL ME WITH HAPPINESS." THE AUTHOR COMMENCES THE SECOND (2ND) PAGE OF HER LETTER BY NOTING, WITH SOME SURPRISE, THAT HER LETTERS TO SGT STOCKS HAVE DRAWN SUFFICIENT PUBLIC ATTENTION TO BE FEATURED, "IN THE JUNE ISSUE OF MC CALL'S MAGAZINE" IN AN ARTICLE ENTITLED, "LETTERS TO BILLY", AND SURMISES THAT, "ITS [sic] HARD TO BELIEVE THAT MY WRITING OF HOW MUCH I MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU ARE IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO OTHERS FOR A MAGAZINE TO TELL ABOUT." MS. WIMBISH THEN STATES THAT, "[...] YOU WERE MY SON, BILLY, YOU WERE AND STILL ARE A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF MY LIFE", AGONIZES THAT THE PAIN OF HIS DEATH HAS EASED WITH TIME BUT IS STILL EVER-PRESENT, LAMENTS THAT SHE CANNOT PREPARE HIM AN EASTER BASKET OR GIVE HIM A HUG, AND SUBSEQUENTLY ACKNOWLEDGES THAT WRITING TO HER DEPARTED SON STILL COMFORTS HER ALTHOUGH HE WILL NEVER READ HER LETTERS. THE AUTHOR CONCLUDES HER LETTER WITH THE LINES, "SO THANKS BILL FOR THE LOVE, THE JOY, THE HAPPINESS AND ALL THE GOOD THINGS THAT LITTLE BOYS ARE MADE OF. / FOR WITHOUT CHILDREN, OH HOW EMPTY MY LIFE WOULD HAVE BEEN." AFFIXED AT THE LOWER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF PAGE TWO (2) OF THE LETTER IS A PHOTOCOPY OF A BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT (PORTRAIT ORIENTATION). THE IMAGE AT THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE PRINT DEPICTS SGT STOCKS AS A YOUNG CHILD ATTIRED IN DRESS CLOTHING (I.E. LIGHT BLAZER, DARK SLACKS, COLLARED SHIRT & SWEATER, DRESS SHOES, ETC.), AND POSING WITH AN EASTER BASKET UPON A GRASSY LAWN IN FRONT OF A BRICK WALL. THE DATE, "APR • 55" IS PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS ALONG THE LOWER EDGE OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE PHOTOCOPIED PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT. THE OBJECT IS ASSOCIATED WITH VIVE (644, 655, 657, & 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, page 1, handwritten inscriptions] "Dear Bill, / Today is Easter Sunday 1985. / It is early as I write this letter to you. / As I write I look into the living room where there are 2 big beautiful baskets waiting for 2 little boys. / My grand children, Bryan age 4 and Billy age 2, who are visiting me. / Soon I will hear squeals of delight as they tear the pretty paper off to get into the goodies inside. / Thus will begin a happy day in our home for there is nothing like having little children around to warm your heart. / It seems like only yesterday when you and the other children were young. / How many baskets I happily filled for the five of you. / How you kids would make quite a day of stuffing yourselves with candy. / Today, as always, I will re-live [sic] some of those happy days. / I will not make my letter long today, Bill, but just had to say how much I miss you and how much I love you. / Somehow, by my writing these letters to you, it brings me closer to you and fills a great need that I have. / For even tho [sic] you are not with us, you are still a very important part of our lives and the good memories you left, fill me with happiness. / And the bad memories of when you died, well, I try very hard to forget those." / [Obverse object surface, page 2, handwritten inscriptions] "The letters I write to you and leave at this memorial have drawn a lot of attention. / In the June issue of Mc Calls' Magazine there is an article called LETTERS TO BILLY." / Its [sic] hard to believe that my writing of how much I miss you and love you are important enough to others for a magazine to tell about. / But you were my Son, Billy, you were and still are a very important part of my life. / The pain of losing you has eased with time but it's still here. / But I cannot hug you, Billy, I cannot fix you an Easter Basket and I cannot talk to you but I can write to you. / And somehow this comforts me even though I know you will never read my letters to you. / So thanks Bill for the love, the joy, the happiness and all the good things that little boys are made of. / For without children, oh how empty my life would have been. / Mom / William R. Stocks / (Spanky)" / [Obverse object surface, printed inscription] "APR • 55" / [Reverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "William R. Stocks / 32 West / 29 Line / Mother / Eleanor Wimbish"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 150.0g
    • Item Length: 29cm
    • Item Width: 45.6cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
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COMMENTS

  • Posted on 4/16/17 - by Roman Saenz
    5 months I lost my grandson he was in the Navy every day is a struggle for me
    I misse him so much
    MORE

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.