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letter, sealed unopened

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 22955
  • Accession Date:3/30/1989
  • Item Summary:Sealed, unopened letter dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class (PFC) Gregory Stan Mundell. The letter is housed inside a Days Inn (Washington, D.C.) hotel stationery envelope bearing a handwritten inscription from, "Debbie, (Indiana)", dated, "3/89", and reading, "In Honor of Gregory S. Mundell; / he now spends his days with the King of Kings, & the Lord of Lords. / God Bless you Greg." The artifact was left at The Wall by a donor identified only as, "Debbie" in March 1989.

assemblage

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 25397
  • Accession Date:11/3/1989
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Army Specialist 4 (SP4) John Thomas Montgomery and consisting of: two (2) Ambassador brand, Hallmark Cards, Inc. bi-fold greeting cards, a greeting card envelope, and a five (5) decade Catholic Christian rosary. A handwritten inscription inside the larger of the two (2) greeting cards is addressed, "Dear John", is signed, "All my love / Margaret", and contains the passage, "I still love you. / I always will. / It's been 20 years and 5 months. / And I still miss you and grieve for you. / The pain of losing you is as much today as April 3, 1969. / Be at peace my love." The artifact assemblage was left at The Wall by a donor identified only as, "Margaret" between September - November 1989.

letter, handwritten


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Photo Credit: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc.

Photo Credit: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc.
  • Catalog Number:VIVE 24811
  • Accession Date:11/3/1989
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: N/A
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter. The letter is addressed, "Hi", is signed, "Love", and opens with the lines, "Well here I am back at The Wall. / My therapist wants me to write down my feelings, so I decided to write to you." In content, the letter represents a general conversation between a surviving veteran of the Vietnam War and those listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM). The author of the letter appeals to his deceased comrades for forgiveness to appease his survivor's guilt, and references the popular Vietnam-era phrase, "It don't mean nothin"; stating the perspective that the war and the sacrifices made by service members in Vietnam, "[...] has to mean something." The author closes by opining that, "Perhaps its meaning is yet to be felt or seen in our world [...] If we keep asking the question "Why?" long enough, an answer may emerge" and concludes his letter with the line, "An answer that will bring peace." The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor between September - November 1989.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00068
  • Record Component Qty:1
  • Item Description:HANDWRITTEN LETTER. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER HANDWRITTEN IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF YELLOW, LINED NOTEBOOK PAPER. THE LETTER IS ADDRESSED, "HI", IS SIGNED, "LOVE", AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "WELL HERE I AM BACK AT THE WALL. / MY THERAPIST WANTS ME TO WRITE DOWN MY FEELINGS, SO I DECIDED TO WRITE TO YOU." IN CONTENT, THE LETTER REPRESENTS A GENERAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN A SURVIVING VETERAN OF THE VIETNAM WAR AND THOSE LISTED ON THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM). THE AUTHOR OF THE LETTER NOTES THAT, "IT STILL DOESN'T FEEL LIKE ITS OVER. / VIETNAM WAS 20 YRS AGO FOR ME, YET IT COULD BE YESTERDAY", EXPRESSES GUILT FOR HAVING SURVIVED THE WAR WHEN SO MANY OTHERS DIED, AND APPEALS TO THOSE LISTED ON THE MEMORIAL FOR FORGIVENESS. THE UNIDENTIFIED AUTHOR GOES ON TO REFERENCE A PHRASE POPULAR AMONGST VIETNAM VETERANS (I.E. "IT DON'T MEAN NOTHIN") AND TO STATE THE PERSPECTIVE THAT THE WAR AND THE SACRIFICES MADE BY SERVICEMEMBERS IN VIETNAM, "[...] HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING." THE AUTHOR CLOSES BY OPINING THAT, "PERHAPS ITS MEANING IS YET TO BE FELT OR SEEN IN OUR WORLD [...] IF WE KEEP ASKING THE QUESTION "WHY?" LONG ENOUGH, AN ANSWER MAY EMERGE", AND CONCLUDES HIS LETTER WITH THE LINE, "AN ANSWER THAT WILL BRING PEACE." ACCORDING TO VIVE CATALOG NOTES PREPARED BY MRCE COLLECTIONS STAFF, AN NPS RANGER'S TAG ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED WITH THE OBJECT READ, "10/32".
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten inscription upon the obverse object surface is transcribed in full, as follows: "Hi, / Well here I am back at The Wall. / My therapist wants me to write down my feelings, so I decided to write to you. / It still doesn't feel like its over. / Vietnam was 20 yrs ago for me, yet it could be yesterday. / I feel guilty sometimes for being alive when all of you are dead. / Forgive me. / Remember the expression "It don't mean nothin"? / Well it doesn't work anymore. / It has to mean something. / Perhaps its meaning is yet to be felt or seen in our world. / Maby [sic] thats [sic] why so many of us keep it alive. / If we keep asking the question "Why?" long enough, an answer may emerge. / An answer that will bring peace. / Love"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 3.5g
    • Item Length: 27.5cm
    • Item Width: 21.5cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
  • Item Notes:ACCORDING TO VIVE CATALOG NOTES PREPARED BY MRCE COLLECTIONS STAFF, AN NPS RANGER'S TAG ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED WITH THE OBJECT READ, "10/32".
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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.