Items Left at The Wall

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letter, handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 34746
  • Accession Date:3/21/1991
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter. The letter is addressed, "Dear Lt.", is signed, "Rest Well My Friend", and opens with the lines, "You died more than 20 years ago. / It has taken me that long to mourn your death." In content, the author of the letter expresses his deep regret and shame at his failure to inquire into the suspicious circumstances of the unnamed officer's death, specifically, "[how the Lieutenant was] shot by .50 caliber machine gun - why you were left in the jungle - why we didn't find many traces of VC.,- why the gooks wouldn't explain what happened - why nobody seemed to care". The author notes that, "While I didn't care 20 years ago, I do care now. / For 20 years, I couldn't face your memory", and closes his letter with the lines, "I would tell them [your family] about a wrongful war and the senselessness of your dieing [sic]. / I would tell them that you are remembered and not forgotten." The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor between January - March 1991.

letter, handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 34748
  • Accession Date:3/21/1991
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter. The letter is addressed, "Dear Uncle John,", is signed, "Your Niece, / -Gretchen Lee-", is dated, "2-23-91", and opens with the lines, "It's nice to finally meet you. / I am your sister's daughter. / I regret that I must meet you here at this black wall that has death written all over it." In content, the author expresses her anger at the loss of her relative and her sense of being cheated by stating that, "The country got you [sic] life and we got a flag. / Fair exchange?" The author bitterly concludes her letter with the lines, "I just hope with all my heart that you are safe and happy now and that my daughter won't be meeting her uncle at a memorial for the dead that died in vain. / I now say good-bye but I will NEVER forget." The artifact was left at The Wall by Gretchen Lee on February 23, 1991.

assemblage


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 34747
  • Accession Date:3/21/1991
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: N/A
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage consisting of a Washington University in St. Louis university emblem pin affixing a military issue, cloth patch U.S. Army ROTC Cadet Command shoulder sleeve insignia to the obverse surface of a handwritten note. The note is addressed, "To all those cadets who have passed before me and fallen on the field of battle, the Cadet Rangers honor you", is signed, "Those of you who lost your lives, you are remembered. / Stuart Adam Wotfen [?] / ROTC Cadet / Gateway Battalion", and consists of a recitation of the U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment Ranger Creed. The artifact assemblage was left at The Wall by U.S. Army ROTC Cadet Stuart Adam Wotfen [?] between January - March 1991.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00081
  • Record Component Qty:3
  • Item Description:ASSEMBLAGE CONSISTING OF: COMPONENT (A) HANDWRITTEN NOTE, COMPONENT (B) MILITARY ISSUE, CLOTH PATCH U.S. ARMY ROTC CADET COMMAND SHOULDER SLEEVE INSIGNIA, AND COMPONENT (C) WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY EMBLEM PIN. COMPONENT (A) HANDWRITTEN NOTE. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A NOTE HANDWRITTEN IN RED INK AND CURSIVE/BLOCK SCRIPT UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF YELLOW, LINED NOTEBOOK PAPER. THE NOTE IS ADDRESSED, "TO ALL THOSE CADETS WHO HAVE PASSED BEFORE ME AND FALLEN ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE, THE CADET RANGERS HONOR YOU", IS SIGNED, "THOSE OF YOU WHO LOST YOUR LIVES, YOU ARE REMEMBERED. / STUART ADAM WOTFEN [?] / ROTC CADET / GATEWAY BATTALION", AND IN CONTENT CONSISTS OF A RECITATION OF THE U.S. ARMY 75TH RANGER REGIMENT RANGER CREED. COMPONENT (C) PRESENTLY AFFIXES COMPONENT (B) TO THE CENTER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE HANDWRITTEN NOTE VIA A SINGLE CLUTCHBACK AT THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE. COMPONENT (B) MILITARY ISSUE, CLOTH PATCH U.S. ARMY ROTC CADET COMMAND SHOULDER SLEEVE INSIGNIA, FULL COLOR. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A YELLOW & BLACK FABRIC PATCH IN THE FORM OF A SHIELD ARCHED AT TOP AND BOTTOM AND COMPRISED OF A FIELD DIVIDED QUARTERLY (1/4) YELLOW & BLACK, AN EMBROIDERED YELLOW LAMP OF KNOWLEDGE ENFLAMED AT THE UPPER, PROPER LEFT-HAND QUADRANT, AN EMBROIDERED YELLOW TROJAN HELMET AT THE LOWER, PROPER RIGHT-HAND QUADRANT, AN EMBROIDERED BLACK SWORD RUNNING DIAGONALLY ACROSS THE YELLOW FROM THE LOWER, PROPER LEFT-HAND TO THE UPPER, PROPER RIGHT-HAND QUADRANTS, AND TWO (2) YELLOW PANELS AT THE UPPER AND LOWER EDGES BEARING EMBROIDERED INSCRIPTIONS IN ARCHED, BLACK, BLOCK SCRIPT READING, "LEADERSHIP" AND "EXCELLENCE", RESPECTIVELY. THE SHIELD SYMBOLIZES THE ARMY MISSION OF NATIONAL DEFENSE AND IS DIVIDED INTO QUARTERS (1/4) REPRESENTING THE FOUR (4) TRADITIONAL MILITARY SCIENCE COURSES COMPRISING THE SENIOR ROTC CURRICULUM. THE SWORD SIGNIFIES COURAGE, GALLANTRY, AND SELF-SACRIFICE INTRINSIC TO THE PROFESSION OF ARMS. THE LAMP DENOTES THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE, HIGHER LEARNING, AND THE PARTNERSHIP OF ARMY ROTC WITH AMERICAN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. THE GREEK HELMET IS SYMBOLIC OF THE ANCIENT CIVILIZATION CONCEPT OF THE WARRIOR SCHOLAR. THE MOTTO, "LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE" EXPRESSES THE ULTIMATE RESPONSIBILITY TO THE NATION. THE SHOULDER SLEEVE INSIGNIA WAS ORIGINALLY APPROVED 28 APRIL 1986 FOR THE U.S. ARMY ROTC CADET COMMAND AND U.S. ARMY SROTC CADETS. ON 28 JANUARY 1993 THE INSIGNIA WAS AMENDED TO ADD METRIC MEASUREMENTS AND SUBDUED COLORS. COMPONENT (C) PRESENTLY AFFIXES THE INSIGNIA TO THE CENTER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF COMPONENT (A) VIA A SINGLE CLUTCHBACK AT THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE. (SOURCE: THE INSTITUTE OF HERALDRY- HTTP://WWW.TIOH.HQDA.PENTAGON.MIL) COMPONENT (C) WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY EMBLEM PIN. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A SILVER COLORED METAL AND RED & GREEN ENAMEL PIN IN THE FORM OF A SILVER SHIELD BEARING TWO (2) HORIZONTAL, PARALLEL, RED STRIPES CHARGED AT THE CENTER WITH AN OPEN BOOK WHOSE PAGES BEAR THE ENGRAVED UNIVERSITY MOTTO, "PER / VERI- / TATEM / VIS" IN RECESSED, BLOCK SCRIPT, AS WELL AS THREE (3) GREEN, FIVE (5)-POINTED STARS ABOVE AND THREE (3) GREEN FLEUR DE LIS BELOW. BELOW THE SHIELD IS AN AFFIXED, ARCHED SCROLL BEARING THE ENGRAVED INSCRIPTIONS, "WASHINGTON" AND "UNIVERSITY" EXECUTED IN RECESSED, RED, BLOCK SCRIPT AT THE PROPER RIGHT- AND LEFT-HAND SIDES OF THE SCROLL, RESPECTIVELY. THE EMBLEM OF WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS IS DERIVED FROM THREE (3) SOURCES: THE COAT OF ARMS OF PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON, THE OFFICIAL SEAL OF THE UNIVERSITY, AND THE EMBLEM OF KING LOUIS IX OF FRANCE, AFTER WHOM THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS IS NAMED. THE PIN PRESENTLY AFFIXES COMPONENT (B) TO THE CENTER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF COMPONENT (A) VIA A SINGLE CLUTCHBACK AT THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE. (SOURCE: WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS, UNIVERSITY SHIELD- HTTPS://COMMENCEMENT.WUSTL.EDU/HISTORY-TRADITIONS/UNIVERSITY-SHIELD/)
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten, embroidered, and engraved inscriptions upon COMPONENTS (A - C) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENT (A), obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "To all those cadets who have passed before me and fallen on the field of battle, the Cadet Rangers honor you: / RANGER CREED / Recognizing that I volunteered as a ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my ranger regiment. / Acknowledging the fact that a ranger is a more elite soldier, who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a ranger, my country expects me to move further, faster, and fight harder than any other soldier. / Never shall I fail my comrades. / I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight, and I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some. / Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well trained soldier. / My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. / Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. / I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. / Surrender is not a ranger word. / I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my county. / Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the ranger objective and complete the mission, thought I be the lone survivor. / Courage / Ability / Dedication / Endlessly / Triumph / Those of you who lost your lives, you are remembered. / Stuart Adam Wotfen [?] / ROTC Cadet / Gateway Battalion" / [COMPONENT (B), obverse object surface, embroidered inscriptions] "LEADERSHIP / EXCELLENCE" / [COMPONENT (C), obverse object surface, engraved inscriptions] "PER / VERI- / TATEM / VIS / WASHINGTON / UNIVERSITY"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 20.9g (Collective weight of COMPONENTS (A - C))
    • Item Length: 28.0cm
    • Item Width: 21.5cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
  • Item Notes:Dimensions listed above are for COMPONENT (A) only, with the exception of "Weight" which is a collective measurement of COMPONENTS (A - C). Measurements for COMPONENTS (B & C) are as follows:

    [COMPONENT (B)]:
    8.6cm (L) X 6.2cm (W) X 20.9g (Collective weight of COMPONENTS (A - C))

    [COMPONENT (C)]:
    2.9cm (L) X 3.0cm (W) X 20.9g (Collective weight of COMPONENTS (A - C))
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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.