Items Left at The Wall

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note, handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 34764
  • Accession Date:3/21/1991
  • Item Summary:Handwritten note. The note is composed upon a floral card depicting a single red rose, is addressed to, "JACKSON", is signed, "SCHMUDE (LAWMAN)", and reads, "WELL BROTHER IT'S BEEN 23 YEARS SINCE WE SAW EACH OTHER (SURE DO MISS NOT BEING ABLE TO PARTY IN CHICAGO WITH YOU) AND THE SHITS [sic] STARTIN [sic] AGAIN! / KEEP AN EYE ON THE GRUNTS BROTHER / SEMPER FI!" The content the of the note and the date range of donation at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) indicate that the note is a direct reference to the start of the First Gulf War (Persian Gulf War). The artifact was left at The Wall by a U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran identified only as, "SCHMUDE (LAWMAN)" between January - March 1991.

note, handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 34789
  • Accession Date:3/21/1991
  • Item Summary:Handwritten note. The note is signed, "John ('67 - 69)" and reads, "We will always be remembered as that half generation of fools turned drug crazed killers of children who lost a non war and had the audacity to come home [...] Thank god it's changing / Thank god for this wall. / Welcome Home." The artifact was left at The Wall by a Vietnam veteran identified only as, "John" between January - March 1991.

letter, handwritten


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 34767
  • Accession Date:3/21/1991
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: ROBERT C BORTON JR
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant (Sgt) Robert Curtis Borton, Jr. The letter is addressed, "Dear Uncle Robert Curtis Borton", is signed, "Love / your niece / Cheyenne", and opens with the lines, "I love you / here I sit in Washington D.C. at the top step of the Lincoln memorial wondering if I will ever get to see the one man I have heard so much about but do not know." In content, the author speaks of visiting the National Mall in Washington, D.C., notes that she and her family are fighting for the return of Sgt Borton, Jr. and all American POW*MIAs in Vietnam, and closes her letter with the lines, " I pray for you and everyone else still gone and wait for your return. / I won't give up or stop believing your [sic] out there somewhere till [sic] you are back with us where you belong". The artifact was left at The Wall by the niece of Sgt Borton, Jr., Cheyenne, between January - March 1991.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00081
  • Record Component Qty:1
  • Item Description:HANDWRITTEN LETTER DEDICATED TO U.S. MARINE CORPS SERGEANT (SGT) ROBERT CURTIS BORTON, JR. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER HANDWRITTEN IN GRAPHITE PENCIL AND CURSIVE/BLOCK SCRIPT UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, LINED, THREE (3)-HOLE PUNCHED SPIRAL NOTEBOOK PAPER. THE LETTER IS ADDRESSED, "DEAR UNCLE ROBERT CURTIS BORTON", IS SIGNED, "LOVE / YOUR NIECE / CHEYENNE", AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "I LOVE YOU / HERE I SIT IN WASHINGTON D.C. AT THE TOP STEP OF THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL WONDERING IF I WILL EVER GET TO SEE THE ONE MAN I HAVE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT BUT DO NOT KNOW." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR OF THE LETTER DESCRIBES SEEING THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WITH HER UNCLE'S NAME CARVED UPON IT, OFFERS THE PRAYER THAT HE WILL SOON RETURN HOME, AND POSES THE QUESTION, "WHY DID OUR COUNTRY DO SUCH A TERRIBLE THING TO THE MEN THAT GAVE THERE [sic] LIVES TO FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM / THEY JUST LEFT ALL OF OUR BRAVE SOLDIERS TO DIE." SHE THEN GOES ON TO STATE THAT, "NOW AFTER ALL THIS TIME WE ARE REALLY FIGHTING HARD TO BRING YOU HOME", AND SPEAKS OF A FUTURE IN WHICH HER UNCLE MIGHT JOIN HER TO EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF THE NATIONAL MALL TOGETHER. CHEYENNE CLOSES HER LETTER TO HER UNCLE WITH THE LINES, "I PRAY FOR YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE STILL GONE AND WAIT FOR YOUR RETURN / I WONT [sic] GIVE UP OR STOP BELIEVING YOUR [sic] OUT THERE SOMEWHERE TILL [sic] YOU ARE BACK WITH US WHERE YOU BELONG". THE PAPER FIBERS COMPRISING SHEET UPON WHICH THE LETTER IS COMPOSED EVINCE TWO (2) DISTINCT HORIZONTAL AND ONE (1) DISTINCT VERTICAL CREASE, THEREBY INDICATING AREAS WHERE THE SHEET WAS PREVIOUSLY FOLDED INTO SIXTHS (1/6). HANDWRITTEN IN GRAPHITE PENCIL AND CURSIVE/BLOCK SCRIPT UPON THE EXTERIOR, OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE FOLDED SHEET ARE THE PHRASES, "UNCLE / ROBERT CURTIS BORTON / I LOVE YOU".
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten inscriptions upon the interior, obverse object surface (unfolded) and the exterior, obverse object surface (folded) is transcribed in full, as follows: [Interior, obverse object surface (unfolded), handwritten inscriptions] "Dear Uncle Robert Curtis Borton / I love you / here I sit in Washington D.C. at the top step of the Lincoln memorial wondering if I will ever get to see the one man I have heard so much about but do not know. / from here I can see that long wall with Robert C Borton engraved on it along with all the other men who never came home. / I think of what has happened to everyone still gone and pray that soon you will come home. / Why did our country do such a terrible thing to the men that gave there [sic] lives to fight for our freedom / they just left all of our brave soldiers to die. / now after all this time we are really fighting hard to bring you home. / one day I hope to see you and sit where I am now with you standing beside me to see the beauty here from this place. / I pray for you and everyone else still gone and wait for your return. / I won't give up or stop believing your [sic] out there somewhere till [sic] you are back with us where you belong / Love / your niece / Cheyenne" / [Exterior, obverse object surface (folded), handwritten inscription] "Uncle / Robert Curtis Borton / I love you"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 3.0g
    • Item Length: 26.5cm
    • Item Width: 20.2cm
    • 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.