Items Left at The Wall

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letter, handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 35430
  • Accession Date:4/23/1990
  • Item Summary:Handwritten letter dedicated to U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Harvey Chadwick K Aiau. The letter is addressed, "Dear Dad", is signed, "All my love, / Kathleen Marie Aiau", is dated, "March 16, 1990", and opens with the lines, "As you know, it's been twenty years since your death. / Can you believe I'll be thirty next year?" In content, the author of the letter informs LCDR Aiau that she has recovered from his death in Vietnam, updates him on the lives of his family members, and notes about her visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) that, "What got to me was the reflection of myself. / We were almost one. / Your name = my reflection." The artifact was left at The Wall by Kathleen Marie Aiau on March 16, 1990.

narrative, printed

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 35446
  • Accession Date:4/23/1990
  • Item Summary:Printed narrative. The narrative is entitled, "HIS NAME'S NOT ON YOUR WALL", bears a handwritten inscription dedicating it to Vietnam veteran, "Bobby Ryscik / of Port Chester, NY / 1950 - 1978", and opens with the lines, "His name's not on your wall. / It should be. / He died there, long before he was dead." In content, the narrative describes Mr. Ryscik's struggles to readjust to civilian life and his subsequent suicide following military service in Vietnam. The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor, and childhood friend of Mr. Ryscik, between January - April 1990.

assemblage


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 35433
  • Accession Date:4/23/1990
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: EUGENE L RATHMANN
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Army Second Lieutenant (2LT) Eugene Le Roy Rathmann and consisting of: a Hallmark brand, bi-fold greeting card, a greeting card envelope, and an affixed faux yellow rose. The greeting card envelope bears a printed inscription specifying 2LT Rathmann's name, military rank, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) Wall location information and reads, "Lt. Eugene Rathmann / Plaque 35 - W / Row * 6". The greeting card bears a handwritten inscription addressed, "My Dearest Son Eugene", signed, " "All My Love" / Mother", and which opens with the lines, "Its [sic] been so long son 21 years. / Almost as long as the time you were with me. / And I miss you so much." The artifact assemblage was left at Panel 35W of The Wall by the mother of 2LT Rathmann between January - April 1990.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00071
  • Record Component Qty:3
  • Item Description:ASSEMBLAGE DEDICATED TO U.S. ARMY SECOND LIEUTENANT (2LT) EUGENE LE ROY RATHMANN AND CONSISTING OF: COMPONENT (A) BI-FOLD GREETING CARD, COMPONENT (B) GREETING CARD ENVELOPE, AND COMPONENT (C) ARTIFICIAL FLOWER. COMPONENT (A) BI-FOLD GREETING CARD. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A BI-FOLD, HALLMARK BRAND GREETING CARD PRINTED IN GREEN, PINK, BLUE, BROWN, RED, & YELLOW INK UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SEGMENT OF WHITE CARDSTOCK. AT THE EXTERIOR, OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE GREETING CARD IS A FULL COLOR GRAPHIC RENDERING DEPICTING TWO (2) YOUNG CAUCASIAN CHILDREN (ONE (1) BOY AND ONE (1) GIRL) DRESSED IN WINTER CLOTHING (E.G. JACKETS, SCARVES, BOOTS, ETC.), FACING AWAY FROM THE VIEWER, WITH ARMS WRAPPED AROUND EACH OTHER, AND WALKING IN THE RAIN ACROSS A GRASSY FIELD DOTTED WITH FLOWERS. THE BOY HOLDS A GRAY UMBRELLA IN HIS RIGHT HAND UNDER WHICH THE TWO (2) CHILDREN WALK, WHILE THE GIRL CRADLES A BASKET OF FLOWERS IN THE CROOK OF HER LEFT ARM. AT THE INTERIOR, UPPER AND LOWER OBJECT SURFACES OF THE CARD IS AN INSCRIPTION HANDWRITTEN IN BLACK INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS. THE INSCRIPTION IS ADDRESSED, "MY DEAREST SON EUGENE", IS SIGNED, " "ALL MY LOVE" / MOTHER", AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "ITS [sic] BEEN SO LONG SON 21 YEARS. / ALMOST AS LONG AS THE TIME YOU WERE WITH ME. / AND I MISS YOU SO MUCH." IN CONTENT, THE NOTE REPRESENTS A FEW LINES OF REMEMBRANCE AND FAMILY NEWS SHARED WITH 2LT RATHMANN BY HIS MOTHER. THE AUTHOR BEGINS HER NOTE BY PROVIDING 2LT RATHMANN WITH AN UPDATE ON FAMILY MATTERS; SPECIFICALLY, THAT THE FAMILY NO LONGER RESIDES IN SAN DIEGO AND THAT, "LENNICE" IS NOW MARRIED AND LIVES IN IOWA WITH HER TWO (2) CHILDREN. 2LT RATHMANN'S MOTHER TELLS HER SON THAT HE WOULD LOVE LENNICE'S CHILDREN AND INFORMS HIM THAT THE BOY, "[...] IS GOING TO BE LIKE YOU. / GOOD LOOKING, TALL, SMART AND VERY WELL MANNER [sic]." SHE THEN PROCEEDS TO NOTE THAT THE RAIN IS COMING AND THE FLOWERS ARE ABOUT TO BLOOM, AND STATES THAT, "YOUR YELLOW ROSE IS JUST BEAUTIFUL. / AND YOU SHALL HAVE ONE." 2LT RATHMANN'S MOTHER THEN CLOSES HER NOTE WITH THE LINES, "HONEY THE LORD WELL [sic] TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOU. / DARLING I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND MISS YOU MORE." AT THE LOWER, CENTER EDGE OF THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE CARD IS A MANUFACTURER/SUPPLIER'S STAMP EXECUTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT AND READING, "[Hallmark crown corporate logo] Hallmark / © HALLMARK CARDS, INC." COMPONENT (A) WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (B). COMPONENT (B) GREETING CARD ENVELOPE. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED GREETING CARD ENVELOPE COMPRISED OF CREAM COLORED PAPER WITH A TRIANGULARLY SHAPED, ADHESIVE CLOSURE FLAP AT THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE. AFFIXED TO THE PROPER RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE ENVELOPE, VIA STRIPS OF CLEAR, ADHESIVE PACKING TAPE, IS A BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT (PORTRAIT ORIENTATION). THE PHOTOGRAPH REPRESENTS A FORMAL MILITARY PORTRAIT DEPICTING 2LT RATHMANN DRESSED IN A MILITARY ISSUE, CLASS A U.S. ARMY GREEN SERVICE UNIFORM AND PEAKED CAP, WHILE FACING THE CAMERA AND SMILING SLIGHTLY IN FRONT OF A NONDESCRIPT STUDIO BACKDROP. AN INSCRIPTION PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS AT THE LOWER, CENTER EDGE OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE (AND COVERED BY A SECOND (2ND) STRIP OF CLEAR, ADHESIVE PACKING TAPE) DESIGNATES 2LT RATHMANN'S NAME AND MILITARY RANK, "LT. EUGENE RATHMANN" AND SPECIFIES HIS VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WALL LOCATION INFORMATION, "PLAQUE 35 - W / ROW * 6". AFFIXED TO THE UPPER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE ENVELOPE VIA SOME FORM OF CHEMICAL ADHESIVE MATERIAL IS AN ARTIFICIAL FLOWER (COMPONENT (C). COMPONENT (A) WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (B). COMPONENT (C) ARTIFICIAL FLOWER. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF AN ARTIFICIAL, FAUX FLOWER IN THE FORM OF A YELLOW ROSE. THE FAUX FLOWER IS COMPRISED OF YELLOW NYLON FABRIC FLOWER PETALS & REPRODUCTIVE STRUCTURES AND GREEN NYLON FABRIC LEAVES. THE ARTIFICIAL FLOWER IS PRESENTLY AFFIXED TO THE UPPER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF COMPONENT (B) VIA SOME FORM OF CHEMICAL ADHESIVE MATERIAL.
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten and printed inscriptions upon the various object surfaces of COMPONENTS (A & B) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENT (A), exterior, reverse object surface, printed inscription] "Hallmark / © HALLMARK CARDS, INC." / [COMPONENT (A), interior object surfaces, handwritten inscriptions] "My Dearest Son Eugene --- / Its [sic] been so long son 21 years. / Almost as long as the time you were with me. / And I miss you so much. / We no longer live in San Diego. / We now live in Ore. and Lennice is married and lives in Iowa. / You would love her two children. / The boy is going to be like you. / Good looking, tall, smart and very well manner [sic]. / It looks like it is going to rain. / the flowers are beginning to bloom. / Oh so pretty. / The roses are just starting to bud. / Your yellow rose is just beautiful. / And you shall have one. / Honey the Lord well [sic] take good care of you. / Darling I love you so much and miss you more. / "All My Love" / Mother" / [COMPONENT (B), obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "Lt. Eugene Rathmann / Plaque 35 - W / Row * 6"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 5.5g (Weight of COMPONENT (A) only)
    • Item Length: 9.8cm
    • Item Width: 12.8cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
  • Item Notes:Dimensions listed above are for COMPONENT (A) only. Measurements for COMPONENTS (B & C) are as follows:

    [COMPONENT (B)]:
    10.2cm (L) X 13.2cm (W) X 5.6g (Collective weight of COMPONENTS (B & C))

    [COMPONENT (C)]:
    7.0cm (Diameter) X 22.0cm (Circumference) X 5.6g (Collective weight of COMPONENTS (B & 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.