Items Left at The Wall

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citation, U.S. Navy & U.S. Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation award

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00814
  • Accession Date:4/18/1985
  • Item Summary:Photocopied military issue, U.S. Navy & U.S. Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation award citation dedicated to U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman, Petty Officer Second Class (AO2) Clayton Mitch Blankenship, U.S. Navy Airman (AN) Daniel Parks Cherry, U.S. Navy Airman (AN) Robert W. Haakenson, Jr., U.S. Navy Airman Apprentice (AA) Robert Allen Yankoski, and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Michael Sargent Bixel. According to the text of the award citation, the U.S. Navy & U.S. Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation was thusly awarded to, "USS MIDWAY (CVA-41) / and / ATTACK CARRIER AIR WING FIVE (CVW-5) / For extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against enemy forces in Southeast Asia from 30 April 1972 to 9 February 1973". The citation narrative further notes that, "By their excellent teamwork, dedication, and sustained supe-rior [sic] performance, the officers and men of MIDWAY and Attack Carrier Air Wing FIVE reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service." The artifact was left at The Wall along with a printed note (VIVE (832)) by an anonymous U.S. Navy & Vietnam veteran between February - April 1985.

letter, typewritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00819
  • Accession Date:4/18/1985
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Army Specialist 4 (SP4) Guadalupe Prado, Jr. and consisting of a printed letter and a handwritten envelope. The letter envelope bears a handwritten inscription at the obverse surface specifying SP4 Prado, Jr.'s name, military rank, and his Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) Wall location information, "22W line 6". The letter is headed, "Houston, Texas / January 1985", is addressed, "Dear Guale (Wally)", is signed, "Con respecto y amor, / Enrique", and opens with the line, " For the past nineteen years, I have been thinking about you and how it would have been if you and I would have reunited after your tour in Nam." In content, the author of the letter recounts his childhood experience growing up in the migrant agricultural fields of Michigan and Ohio with SP4 Prado, Jr., notes the high hopes of SP4 Prado, Jr.'s mother that her son could rescue the family from abject poverty, informs his childhood friend of his own post-Vietnam educational attainment and success as a university administrator in Texas, and concludes with the lines, "[...] I cannot help but con-tinue [sic] thinking of the many guys, like yourself, who died before they actually began to live. / You and others listed in the monument are my heroes and I want you to know it! / May God Bless You!" The artifact assemblage was left at Panel 22W of The Wall along with a photocopied version of the letter (VIVE (820)) by a donor identified only as, "Enrique" in January 1985.

letter, handwritten


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 00815
  • 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 from SGT Stocks' mother, is signed, "(Written by a mother who lost her son in Vietnam but still cares about the ones who are still unaccounted for.) / Eleanor Wimbish", bears the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) Wall honoree & donor information, "William R. Stocks / Mother / Eleanor P. Wimbish" handwritten at the reverse surface, and opens with the line, "In our family, in our home 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 also the one whose heart broke when told this big young son of mine had died in that far away country called Vietnam. / And I'm the one who still cries because of all the memories of him 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 human beings. / They are husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and much, much more. / Please help to get these men home and end this suffering for them and their loved ones." The artifact was left at Panel 32W of The Wall by Eleanor Wimbish, mother of SGT Stocks, between February - April 1985.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00007
  • Related Items: VIVE 00644 - letter, handwritten
    VIVE 00655 - letter, handwritten
    VIVE 00657 - letter & poem, handwritten
    VIVE 00705 - 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 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. FOUR (4) HEART SHAPED, RED PAPER ADHESIVE DECALS ARE AFFIXED TO THE CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE AT THE UPPER & LOWER, CENTER & LOWER, PROPER RIGHT- AND LEFT-HAND CORNERS OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE. 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 CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE, WITH AFFIXED LETTER SHEETS, IS SUBSEQUENTLY AFFIXED TO TWO (2) 'L' SHAPED WOODEN RAILS ALONG THE UPPER AND LOWER OBJECT EDGES VIA SIX (6) METAL STAPLES TO FORM A CRUDE DISPLAY FRAME. THE LETTER IS 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 / MOTHER / ELEANOR P. WIMBISH / 205 6TH AVE. S.E. / GLEN BURNIE, MD / 21061" HANDWRITTEN UPON THE CENTER AND LOWER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE CARDBOARD SUBSTRATE, AND OPENS WITH THE LINE, "IN OUR FAMILY, IN OUR HOME AND IN OUR LIVES, THE VIETNAM WAR WILL NEVER END." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR BEGINS HER LETTER BY NOTING, "[...] AN EMPTINESS BECAUSE A LOVED ONE IS MISSING AND THE NEVER ENDING QUESTIONS OF WHY?" RESULTANT OF HER SON'S DEATH, STATES THAT, "[...] THIS LOVED ONE OF OURS WENT TO THAT WAR, THAT VIETNAM WAR", AND SUBSEQUENTLY ASKS A SERIES OF RHETORICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT WHERE THIS GIVING, LOVING SON, BROTHER, FRIEND, & LOVED ONE HAS GONE. THE AUTHOR THEN PROCEEDS TO CHARACTERIZE HER SON AS, "[...] JUST A MEMORY [...] A NAME ON A BLACK WALL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., SURROUNDED BY 58,011 OTHER NAMES", ACKNOWLEDGES THAT SHE VISITS THE MEMORIAL OFTEN TO SEE AND TOUCH HIS NAME, AND AGONIZES THAT, "[...] ONCE AGAIN I FEEL THE PAIN OF LOSING HIM FOR YOU SEE I AM HIS MOTHER." MS. WIMBISH THEN DESCRIBES HER ROLE IN SOOTHING SGT STOCKS AS A BABY, TEACHING HIM MORALITY AS A CHILD, & PRAYING FOR HIM DURING HIS MILITARY SERVICE AS A YOUNG ADULT IN VIETNAM, AND PAINFULLY RECOLLECTS THAT, "I'M ALSO THE ONE WHOSE HEART BROKE WHEN TOLD THIS BIG YOUNG SON OF MINE HAD DIED IN THAT FAR AWAY COUNTRY CALLED VIETNAM. / AND I'M THE ONE WHO STILL CRIES BECAUSE OF ALL THE MEMORIES OF HIM THAT WILL NEVER DIE." THE AUTHOR GOES ON TO RHETORICALLY ADDRESS VIETNAM DIRECTLY; NOTING THAT THE WAR BROKE HER HEART, TOOK HER SENSE OF SECURITY, AND ULTIMATELY TOOK AWAY HER SON. SHE THEN TRANSCENDS HER OWN GRIEF TO CALL ATTENTION TO THE TRAGEDY OF, "[...] 2,482 AMERICAN MEN WHO ARE STILL BEING HELD IN VIETNAM", AND INQUIRES AS TO WHAT IS BEING DONE TO RETURN THESE MEN TO THEIR HOMES AND END THE SUFFERING OF THEIR FAMILIES. MS. WIMBISH CLOSES WITH A MEDITATION UPON THE MEANING OF THE WORD, "FREEDOM" AND IT'S INAPPLICABILITY TO POW*MIA's STILL BEING HELD IN VIETNAM, AND CONCLUDES HER LETTER WITH THE LINES, "THEY [POW*MIA's] ARE HUSBANDS, SONS, FATHERS, BROTHERS AND MUCH, MUCH MORE. / PLEASE HELP TO GET THESE MEN HOME AND END THIS SUFFERING FOR THEM AND THEIR LOVED ONES." THE OBJECT IS VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL IN CONTENT TO AN ASSOCIATED HANDWRITTEN LETTER (VIVE (655)). THE OBJECT IS ASSOCIATED WITH VIVE (644, 655, 657, & 705).
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten inscriptions upon the obverse and reverse object surfaces is transcribed in full, as follows: [Obverse object surface, page 1, handwritten inscriptions] "In our family, in our home and in our lives, the Vietnam war will never end. / There is no enemy that you can see. / There are no weapons, no fighting, no hardships. / Only an emptiness because a loved one is missing and the never ending questions of why? / For you see, this loved one of ours went to that war, that Vietnam war. / He took his laughter, his jokes and his love for life and went to that far away country. / Flying away, late one night from the ones who loved him. / Away to unknown dangers in unknown lands. / Where did he go, this young son of mine, who was so full of life and who had this gift of laughter, this gift of always giving love and happiness to others? / Where did he go, this brother who gave so much to his younger brother and 3 sisters, as any, brother ever has? / Where did he go this friend, who left an emptiness in the lives of so many? / And where is he now? / Now he is just a memory. / Now he is a name on a black wall in Washington, D.C., surrounded by 58,011 other names. / I come to this memorial, often, to see his name William R. Stocks and rub each letter and once again I feel the pain of losing him for you see I am his mother. / I'm the one who held and rocked him as a baby. / I'm the one who kissed away the hurts. / I'm the one who taught him right from wrong. / I'm the one who cried when Uncle Sam said, "I want you". / I'm the one who hugged and kissed him for the last time and watched him fly away, from me, to war. / I'm the one who prayed each night, "Dear God, keep him safe". / And I'm the goofy Mom who sent a Christmas tree to him [...]" / [Obverse object surface, page 2, handwritten inscriptions] "[...] in Vietnam. / I'm also the one whose heart broke when told this big young son of mine had died in that far away country called Vietnam. / And I'm the one who still cries because of all the memories of him that will never die. / So Vietnam, Vietnam what did you take from me? / You took my son Bill. / You took part of my hopes and part of my dreams. / You broke my heart! / You took something from me that most people do not even realize they have, until they lose it and that is a feeling of security. / These things and more you took from me when you took my son, Bill. You absolutely changed my life and from then on nothing was ever the same. / Vietnam was a tragedy for so many. / But how many people know the tragedy of that war still goes on for the 2,482 American men who are still being held in Vietnam. / What is being done to get these men back home where they belong? / What is being done to end the suffering for these men and their families? / Think about the word Freedom. / If we live in the land of the brave and the free, then why are our brave men who went to Vietnam to fight for that freedom, why are they not free? / These men are listed as P.O.W./M.I.A. but they are more than that. / They are human beings. / They are husbands, sons, fathers, brothers and much, much more. / Please help to get these men home and end this suffering for them and their loved ones. / (Written by a mother who lost her son in Vietnam but still cares about the ones who are still unaccounted for.) / Eleanor Wimbish" / [Reverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "William R. Stocks / Mother / Eleanor P. Wimbish / 205 6th Ave. S.E. / Glen Burnie, Md / 21061"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 300.0g
    • Item Length: 31.5cm
    • Item Width: 45.5cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: 3.0cm (Frame depth)
  • Item Notes:THE OBJECT IS VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL IN CONTENT TO AN ASSOCIATED HANDWRITTEN LETTER (VIVE (655)).
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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.