Items Left at The Wall

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assemblage

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 09962
  • Accession Date:10/22/1986
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Army Sergeant (SGT) Raymond Richard Schifrin and consisting of a color postcard & a ceramic ashtray. The ceramic ashtray bears SGT Schifrin's name etched upon the under-surface and appears to have been made by him as a child. The postcard bears numerous handwritten inscriptions dated, "10/12/86" from SGT Schifrin's mother and siblings which read (in part), "I wanted to bring those undelivered letters; but, some things are too difficult to part with [...] P.S. Happy New Year wherever you are [...] Looking forward when we will all be together. / We all love you [...] P.P.P.S. Daddy is with you." The artifact assemblage was left at Panel W22 of The Wall by the family of SGT Schifrin on October 12, 1986.

print, color photographic

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 11960
  • Accession Date:7/8/1986
  • Item Summary:Color photographic print. The photo is an 'in-country' image captured in Vietnam which depicts a group of four (4) African-American male servicemen of the U.S. Army's 9th Infantry division dressed in military-issue field attire and seated, while reading newspapers & letters inside an unidentified structure within an American military installation. A handwritten inscription upon the reverse surface of the image identifies the photo subjects, year, location, & relevant military unit and reads, "Straight Man / SGT "Rock" / Bro Brown / Lifer / "71" / Quan Tree [sic] near North of Hue / Alpha 4-1". The artifact was left at The Wall along with an associated color photographic print (VIVE (11961)) by an anonymous donor between June - July 1986.

assemblage


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 09984
  • Accession Date:10/22/1986
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: JOHN E ANDERSON , EDWARD M DENNULL
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Army Specialist 4 (SP4) Edward Michael Dennull & U.S. Army Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) John Ernest Anderson and consisting of: a harmonica (blues harp), a printed poem, & a color photographic print. Handwritten inscriptions upon the reverse surface of the school picture identify the subject as 6 1/2 year-old, "Tabitha Smith". The poem is entitled, "IS IT RIGHT?", is authored by, "Rickey L. McDonald / Tacoma Wa.", and in content explores a central theme of the moral rectitude of killing an enemy in a time of war. The artifact assemblage was left at Panel W20 of The Wall by Rickey L. McDonald in October 1986.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00031
  • Record Component Qty:3
  • Item Description:ASSEMBLAGE DEDICATED TO U.S. ARMY SPECIALIST 4 (SP4) EDWARD MICHAEL DENNULL & U.S. ARMY WARRANT OFFICER 1 (WO1) JOHN ERNEST ANDERSON AND CONSISTING OF: COMPONENT (A) HARMONICA, COMPONENT (B) PRINTED POEM, & COMPONENT (C) COLOR PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT. COMPONENT (A) HARMONICA. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF AN INTERNAL SOUNDBOARD COMPRISED OF TWO (2) BRASS REEDPLATES AFFIXED TO ONE ANOTHER VIA BRASS METAL SCREWS. THE POLISHED METAL COVER PLATES (EXTERIOR CASING) OF THE INSTRUMENT, ALONG WITH THE ATTENDANT SCREWS WHICH AFFIX THE COVER PLATES TO THE INTERNAL SOUNDBOARD, ARE PRESENTLY MISSING AND COMPLETELY DISSOCIATED FROM THE OBJECT. TEN (10) EVENLY SPACED, SQUARE SHAPED HOLES ARE OBSERVED IN THE SOUNDBOARD AT THE INSTRUMENT EDGE DESIGNATED FOR PLAYING. COMPONENT (B) PRINTED POEM. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A POEM PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED, LETTER-SIZED PAPER. THE POEM IS ENTITLED, "IS IT RIGHT?", IS AUTHORED BY, "RICKEY L. MCDONALD / TACOMA WA.", AND IS COMPRISED OF SIX (6) STANZAS AND TWENTY (20) TOTAL LINES. IN CONTENT, THE FIRST (1ST) STANZA OF THE POEM INTRODUCES THE CENTRAL THEME OF THE WORK, THE MORAL RECTITUDE OF TAKING A LIFE DURING WARTIME, AND ANSWERS THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT SUCH AN ACTION IS RIGHT WITH THE LINE, "BUT I ASKED TO, I WANTED TO, AND I WILL." THE SECOND (2ND) STANZA SPEAKS OF THE AUTHOR'S SENSE OF EMPOWERMENT WHEN CARRYING A FIREARM, AS HE DECLARES THAT, "I FEEL THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH, / THE POWER TO TAKE AWAY ANY MANS [sic] BREATH." THE THIRD (3RD) STANZA OF THE POEM FINDS THE AUTHOR AGAIN WEIGHING THE JUSTICE OF TAKING THE LIFE OF AN ENEMY IN COMBAT, ACKNOWLEDGING HIS, "[...] COMPASSION, SORROW AND PITY FOR THIS MAN", AND NOTING THAT HIS ENEMY IS COMPELLED TO FIGHT UPON HIS OWN LAND FOR MOTIVATIONS THAT DIFFER FROM HIS OWN. THE FOURTH (4TH) STANZA REPRESENTS A PAINFUL RECOLLECTION OF WATCHING A FRIEND DIE IN WAR, WHILE THE FIFTH (5TH) STANZA FOLLOWS THE AUTHOR'S TRANSITION BACK TO A STATE OF MORAL RETRIBUTION IN WHICH, "I KNOW I CAN, I WANT TO, I WILL. / YES DEAR GOD I'M GONA [sic] GET ANOTHER KILL!" THE POEM THEN CONCLUDES IN THE SIXTH (6TH) STANZA WITH THE SINGLE QUESTIONING LINE, "IS IT RIGHT?" AN INSCRIPTION HANDWRITTEN IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON THE LOWER, PROPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE DEDICATES THE ARTIFACT ASSEMBLAGE TO, "EDWARD M. DENNULL 20W - 28 / & JOHN E ANDERSON 20W - 19". COMPONENT (C) COLOR PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT. THE OBJECT CONSIST OF A COLOR PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT (PORTRAIT ORIENTATION) UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, KODAK BRAND PHOTO PAPER. THE IMAGE AT THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE PRINT IS A FORMAL STUDIO PORTRAIT (SCHOOL PICTURE) DEPICTING A YOUNG, CAUCASIAN-AMERICAN GIRL WEARING A RED/GREEN/YELLOW PLAID PATTERN DRESS WITH WHITE LACE COLLAR & TRIM AND A RED BOW IN HER HAIR, WHILE FACING THE CAMERA AND SMILING IN FRONT OF A NONDESCRIPT, GRAY & BLUE STUDIO BACKDROP. INSCRIPTIONS HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT IDENTIFY THE YEAR THE IMAGE WAS CAPTURED, AS WELL AS THE SUBJECT'S NAME & AGE, AND READ, " "88" / TABITHA SMITH / 6 1/2". THE MANUFACTURER/SUPPLIER'S INFORMATION, "THIS PAPER MANUFACTURED BY KODAK" IS STAMPED IN GRAY INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT IN A REPEATED GRAPHIC MOTIF ACROSS THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT.
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the printed, handwritten, & stamped inscriptions upon COMPONENTS (A & B) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENT (B), obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] “IS IT RIGHT? / DEAR GOD IS IT RIGHT? / IS IT FOR ME TO COME HERE AND FIGHT? / YES, , I KNOW IT"S [sic] A SIN TO KILL. / BUT I ASKED TO, I WANTED TO, AND I WILL. / WHEN I HOLD A GUN IN MY HAND, / I FEEL A POWER OVER THIS LAND. / I FEEL THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH, / THE POWER TO TAKE AWAY ANY MANS [sic] BREATH. / I LOOK DOWN BELOW ME, I WATCH HIM TRY TO HIDE, / THEY SAY IT'S RIGHT TO KILL HIM, BECAUSE HE'S ON THE OTHER SIDE. / I FEEL COMPASSION, SORROW AND PITY FOR THIS MAN, / BECAUSE HE HAS TO FIGHT, , , ON HIS OWN LAND. / HE WANTS VERY HARD, , FOR HIS SIDE TO WIN, / BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN NO TOUR SIT FOR HIM. / THEN I THINK OF MY BUDDY, OF HOW I WATCHED HIM BURN, / I THINK OF THE LESSON HE HAD TO LEARN. / NOW I FEEL THAT SPECIAL KIND OF THRILL, / I KNOW I CAN, I WANT TO, I WILL. / YES DEAR GOD I'M GONA [sic] GET ANOTHER KILL! / IS IT RIGHT? / Rickey L. McDonald” / [COMPONENT (B), obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "Tacoma, Wa. / Dedicated to / Edward M. Dennull 20W - 28 / & John E Anderson 20W - 19" / [COMPONENT (C), reverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] " "88" / Tabitha Smith / 6 1/2” / [COMPONENT (C), reverse object surface, stamped inscription] "THIS PAPER MANUFACTURED BY KODAK [stamped in a repeated graphic motif]"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 40.6g (Weight of COMPONENT (A) only)
    • Item Length: 2.5cm
    • Item Width: 10.0cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: 0.7cm (Thickness)
  • Item Notes:Dimensions listed above are for COMPONENT (A) only. Measurements for COMPONENTS (B & C) are as follows:

    [COMPONENT (B)]:
    27.5cm (L) X 21.3cm (W) X 4.7g (Weight)

    [COMPONENT (C)]:
    5.2cm (L) X 3.7cm (W) X 0.5g (Weight)
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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.