Items Left at The Wall

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letter, printed

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 09047
  • Accession Date:5/29/1986
  • Item Summary:Printed letter dedicated to U.S. Navy Commander (CDR) Barton Scott Wade, U.S. Navy Commander (CDR) Gene Albert Smith, U.S. Army Specialist 5 (SP5) Charles Kenneth Truesdale, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (SSG) Larry Lee Truesdale, & U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Stanley E. Truesdale. The letter is addressed, "To: LCDR Barton S. Wade, USN", is, "From: John H. Truesdale (USN 1964-1968) / (formally of the Veteran's Vigil for POWs/MIAs)", is dated, "May 27, 1986 1:30am", and opens with the lines, " Dear Sir, / I never knew you, or you, me [...] I am returning the bracelet I wore with your name on it. / Last March I recieved [sic] the news that you had returned home after being shot down over North Vietnam Dec. 12, 1972. / Welcome home, Sir." In content, Mr. Truesdale speaks of his personal & professional struggles in post-war life, his determination to persevere and to succeed at a second (2nd) marriage, and his continuing commitment to work on behalf of all American POW*MIAs. The commemorative POW*MIA bracelet bearing CDR Wade's engraved information is affixed to the second (2nd) page of the letter. The artifact was left at The Wall by U.S. Navy and Vietnam veteran John H. Truesdale on May 27, 1986.

print, black & white photographic

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 09050
  • Accession Date:7/18/1985
  • Item Summary:Black & white photographic print. The photographic image depicts a passenger's view of a partial wing structure and engine cowling of a commercial jet aircraft taken in flight. The print is dated, "JAN • 68" and bears a handwritten inscription at the reverse surface reading, "Goin' home." The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous Vietnam veteran between June - July 1985.

narrative, printed


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 09049
  • Accession Date:5/29/1986
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: JAMES L SIRON
  • Item Summary:Printed narrative dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class (PFC) James Lloyd Siron. The narrative is entitled, "Will The Memories Remain ? ", is signed, "The memories still remain! / PFC James L. Siron / Bud", is undated, and opens with the lines, "We were friends during high school and college. / Sharing many a common event during those years." The author of the narrative describes a trip undertaken with PFC Siron to enlist in the Marine Corps, notes his friend's death and his own survival in Vietnam, and concludes his narrative with the lines, "I still don't know why I made it back and you didn't. / How lucky I've remained: With a wife, two daughters, and a son with James in his name. / It's been 18 years and you're not just a name carved in at 35E/9." The artifact was left at Panel 35E of The Wall by a U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran identified only as, "Bud" in May 1986.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00023
  • Record Component Qty:2
  • Item Description:PRINTED NARRATIVE DEDICATED TO U.S. MARINE CORPS PRIVATE FIRST CLASS (PFC) JAMES LLOYD SIRON. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A SIX (6) PARAGRAPH NARRATIVE PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER. THE NARRATIVE IS ENTITLED, "WILL THE MEMORIES REMAIN ?", IS SIGNED, "BUD", IS UNDATED, AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "WE WERE FRIENDS DURING HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE. / SHARING MANY A COMMON EVENT DURING THOSE YEARS." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR OF THE NARRATIVE BEGINS BY DESCRIBING A TRIP UNDERTAKEN WITH PFC SIRON TO KANSAS CITY DURING WHICH, "MOST OF THE TIME WAS SPENT TRYING TO TALK YOU OUT OF JOINING [the Marine Corps] AND YOU TRYING TO CONVINCE ME THAT IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO." THE AUTHOR PROCEEDS TO RECOUNT GETTING PFC SIRON IN TROUBLE WITH HIS DRILL INSTRUCTOR (D.I.) AT BOOT CAMP FOR MAILING HIM, "[...] A BROCHURE I'D PICKED UP AT THE STUDENT UNION ABOUT O.C.S. [Officer Candidate School]". THE AUTHOR THEN RECALLS THE RETURN OF PFC SIRON'S REMAINS TO THE UNITED STATES WHEN, "ONE PATROL AND WEEKS LATER THEY RETURNED YOU TO THE WORLD", AND YET ACKNOWLEDGES HIS OWN SUBSEQUENT ENLISTMENT IN THE LINES, "OF COURSE YOU NEVER KNEW BUT I RETRACED OUR TRAIN TRIP. / THIS TIME THE SIGNATURE WAS MINE." THE AUTHOR CLOSES HIS NARRATIVE BY LISTING THOSE THINGS HE WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE ENJOYED IN HIS LIFE UPON SURVIVING VIETNAM, I.E. "[...] A WIFE, TWO DAUGHTERS, AND A SON WITH JAMES IN HIS NAME", AND CONCLUDES HIS NARRATIVE WITH THE LINES, "IT'S BEEN 18 YEARS AND YOU'RE NOT JUST A NAME CARVED IN AT 35E/9. / THE MEMORIES STILL REMAIN. / PFC JAMES L. SIRON". THE SHEET UPON WHICH THE NARRATIVE IS PRINTED IS PRESENTLY HOUSED INSIDE A DOCUMENT FOLDER COMPRISED OF GREEN CARDSTOCK VIA THREE (3) METAL TABS. A WHITE PAPER, ADHESIVE LABEL AFFIXED TO THE UPPER, CENTER EDGE OF THE EXTERIOR, OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE DOCUMENT FOLDER BEARS AN INSCRIPTION PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS READING, "PFC JAMES L. SIRON / SEDALIA, MO. / ALWAYS REMEMBERED AS A FRIEND & MARINE". A UPC BAR CODE BEARING THE NUMERIC PHRASES, "0 43100 34702" IS PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND ARABIC NUMERALS AT THE LOWER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF THE EXTERIOR, REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE DOCUMENT FOLDER.
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the printed inscriptions upon the affixed adhesive label and upon the narrative is transcribed in full, as follows: [Exterior, obverse object surface, affixed adhesive label, printed inscription] "PFC James L. Siron / Sedalia, Mo. / Always remembered as a friend & Marine" / [Interior, proper left-hand surface, narrative, printed inscriptions] "Will The Memories Remain ? / We were friends during high school and college. / Sharing many a common event during those years. / Then you decided to follow your brothers tradition and join the Marines. / We took the midnight train to Kansas City. / Most of the time was spent trying to talk you out of joining and you trying to convince me that it was the right thing to do. / I couldn't change your mind and the recruiter couldn't change mine, although he tried. / I was being clever and mailed you a brochure I'd picked up at the Student Union about O.C.S. while you were in boot camp. / You didn't tell me until after graduation that the brochure assured you a trip to the quonset with your D.I. / Still you didn't complain. / Your orders read R.V.N. after you completed all your training. / One patrol and weeks later they returned you to the world. / Of course you never knew but I retraced our train trip. / This time the signature was mine. / I still don't know why I made it back and you didn't. / How lucky I've remained: With a wife, two daughters, and a son with James in his name. / It's been 18 years and you're not just a name carved in at 35E/9. / The memories still remain! / PFC James L. Siron / Bud"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 50.0g
    • Item Length: 29.2cm
    • Item Width: 24.2cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
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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.