Items Left at The Wall

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letter, handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 17325
  • Accession Date:6/2/1988
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter. The letter is addressed to, "Dan", is from, "Bob (Slick) Serena", is undated, and opens with the line, "I come here today to remember you & all other brothers who died." In content, the letter represents Mr. Serena's attempt to say goodbye to Dan and to all of his former comrades in arms, and to move forward with his life as a result. The author acknowledges that, "I forgot the names but I will never forget the faces. / God how could I forget the faces? / I have had all of you with me. / For the past 16 years in everything I've done, I've had you & remembered you", and states that, "I've tried to do all I can for the Vietnam vets that made it back with 1/2 the mind or 1/2 there [sic] bodys [sic] & I always will." Mr. Serena concludes his letter with a postscript to his friend reading, "One more thing Dan, remember that last time we saw each other, when you were laying [sic] in my arms, we said we would have a beer togther [sic] when we got back to the world, well here it is. / I love & miss you guys." The artifact was left at The Wall by U.S. Army and Vietnam veteran Robert "Slick" Serena between April - June 1988.

assemblage

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 17444
  • Accession Date:6/2/1988
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage consisting of a handwritten note & envelope upon blue, polka dot stationery and a telephone-shaped, silver jewelry bracelet charm. The note is addressed, "Dear Bill", is signed, "Love, / Sue", and opens with the lines, "It's been 19 years since you were killed. / I will see your name today." In content, Sue informs Bill that she is leaving at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) the bracelet charm that, "[...] you gave me so many years ago", assures him that she is happy with, "Mark" and the family they have created together, and closes her note with the lines, "Rest in Peace Bill / I love you". The artifact assemblage was left at The Wall by a donor identified only as, "Sue" between April - June 1988.

note, handwritten


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 17440
  • Accession Date:6/2/1988
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: N/A
  • Item Summary:Handwritten note and color photograph affixed to a cardboard box. The handwritten note is addressed to, "Uncle Jim", is from his niece, "Becki K" (pictured in the photo), is dated, "5/13/88", and opens with the lines, "It's been almost 20 years now that you've been gone. / I wasn't even born when you died." Becki closes her note to her uncle with the lines, "I'll think of you if you'll keep an eye on me. / Deal!?! / I love and miss you!!!!" The artifact was left at Panel 28W of The Wall by a donor identified as, "Becki K" on May 13, 1988.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00050
  • Record Component Qty:3
  • Item Description:HANDWRITTEN NOTE. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A NOTE HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF YELLOW, LINED PAPER. THE NOTE IS ADDRESSED, "UNCLE JIM", IS SIGNED, "I LOVE AND MISS YOU!!!! / BECKI K OOXO", IS DATED, "5/13/88", AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "IT'S BEEN ALMOST 20 YEARS NOW THAT YOU'VE BEEN GONE. / I WASN'T EVEN BORN WHEN YOU DIED." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR OF THE NOTE INDICATES THAT SHE HAS COME TO THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) TO FINALLY MEET HER UNCLE AND ACKNOWLEDGES THE FACT THAT, "[...] I KNOW YOU WOULD WANT ME TO ACCEPT YOUR DEATH JUST AS YOU SAID THAT YOU WERE READY FOR IT IF NECESSARY." THE AUTHOR GOES ON TO STATE THAT HER EIGHTEENTH (18TH) BIRTHDAY IS APPROACHING, INDICATES THAT SHE DOES NOT YET FEEL LIKE AN ADULT, AND OPINES, "[...] BUT, THEN AGAIN, YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T EITHER. I GUESS THAT'S THE WAY LIFE IS." THE AUTHOR SUBSEQUENTLY CLOSES HER NOTE WITH THE LINES, "I'LL THINK OF YOU IF YOU'LL KEEP AN EYE ON ME. / DEAL!?!" THE NOTE IS PRESENTLY AFFIXED TO THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED CARDBOARD BOX VIA CLEAR POLY-PLASTIC SHEETING AND STRIPS OF CLEAR, ADHESIVE TAPE. THE BOX ITSELF IS COMPRISED OF RED COLORED CARDBOARD, AND BEARS A TEXTURED BROWN AND GOLD CARDBOARD SHEATH AFFIXED TO ITS EXTERIOR OBJECT SURFACES (TO WHICH THE HANDWRITTEN NOTE IS PRESENTLY AFFIXED). AFFIXED TO THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE CARDBOARD BOX SUBSTRATE IS A COLOR PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT (PORTRAIT ORIENTATION) DEPICTING THE AUTHOR OF THE HANDWRITTEN NOTE, "BECKI" IN A STYLIZED SCHOOL PORTRAIT. THE SUBJECT OF THE PHOTO IS POSED IN PROFILE WEARING A BLUE POLKA DOT AND WHITE LACE DRESS, AND IS TURNED TOWARDS THE CAMERA IN FRONT OF A STUDIO BACKDROP DEPICTING OUTDOOR FOLIAGE. ACCORDING TO VIVE CATALOG NOTES PREPARED BY MRCE COLLECTIONS STAFF, AN NPS RANGER'S TAG ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED WITH THE ARTIFACT SPECIFIED THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WALL LOCATION OF DONATION AND READ, "5/193 W28". SMALL ITEMS OF AN INDETERMINATE COMPOSITION CAN BE HEARD RATTLING AROUND THE INTERIOR SURFACES OF THE CARDBOARD BOX SUBSTRATE UPON HANDLING.
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten inscriptions of the note affixed to the reverse object surface is transcribed in full, as follows: "Uncle Jim- / It's been almost 20 years now that you've been gone. / I wasn't even born when you died. / Today I came here to finally meet you. / Somehow it will have to be enough - I know you would want me to accept your death just as you said that you were ready for it if necessary. / Saturday is my eighteenth birthday - I guess that's supposed to mean that I'm an adult - I don't feel like an adult, but, then again, you probably didn't either. / I guess that's the way life is. / I'll think of you if you'll keep an eye on me. / Deal!?! / I love and miss you!!!! / Becki K ooxo / 5/13/88"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 168.8g
    • Item Length: N/A
    • Item Width: 11.4cm
    • Item Height: 16.5cm
    • Item Depth: 2.8cm (Depth)
  • Item Notes:ACCORDING TO VIVE CATALOG NOTES PREPARED BY MRCE COLLECTIONS STAFF, AN NPS RANGER'S TAG ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED WITH THE ARTIFACT SPECIFIED THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WALL LOCATION OF DONATION AND READ, "5/193 W28". SMALL ITEMS OF AN INDETERMINATE COMPOSITION CAN BE HEARD RATTLING AROUND THE INTERIOR SURFACES OF THE CARDBOARD BOX SUBSTRATE UPON HANDLING.
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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.