Items Left at The Wall

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print, color photographic

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 11963
  • Accession Date:7/8/1986
  • Item Summary:Color photographic print. The photo is an 'in-country' image captured in Vietnam [?] which depicts an unidentified, Caucasian-American male serviceman dressed in military-issue field attire and posing in front of a Boeing Vertol CH-4 Sea Knight transport helicopter being loaded from the rear (aft). The artifact was left at The Wall along with an associated color photographic print (VIVE (11962)) by an anonymous donor between June - July 1986.

note, framed handwritten

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 16516
  • Accession Date:10/22/1986
  • Item Summary:Framed, handwritten note with three (3) color photographs. The note is dedicated, "In Memory of / Major John V. Tizio / United States Marine Corps / Killed while on active duty, October 23, 1968 / in New River, North Carolina", is signed, "Your loving wife, / Sally / and children / Scott, Jackie and Tracy", and opens with the lines, "John, you were a casualty of the Vietnam War even though your death was not in that distance [sic] country. / It took you just as far away from me and the children." In her note, Maj Tizio's wife, Sally, bitterly observes that his name is not listed upon the memorial (as his death did not occur in a combat zone), and thusly concludes her note with the line, "Your memorial is your children who will have forever your memory engraved upon their hearts, as it is upon mine." The artifact was left at The Wall by the family of Maj Tizio in October 1986.

assemblage


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 12230
  • Accession Date:10/22/1986
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: JOHN R POFF
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Army Corporal (CPL) John Robert Poff and consisting of: a letter envelope, two (2) black & white photocopied newspaper clippings, & a photocopied funeral program. The newspaper clippings include an Associated Press (AP) wire photo depicting CPL Poff's widow, Cheree, grieving upon receipt of news of his death, as well as an account of public reaction to the publication of the photo, an obituary written by Cheree, and a note of thanks from the family. The funeral program provides details regarding a memorial service for CPL Poff held on, "THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 1969, 2:00 P.M." in his hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin, while the letter envelope in which these items were left at The Wall bears the handwritten inscription, "Cherre and CORP. E-4 John R. Poff / KILLED 2/3/69 / I STILL REMEMBER.... / (a teenager, now in his 30's, / From Grand Haven, Mich) / 10/ /86". The artifact assemblage was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor in October 1986.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00031
  • Record Component Qty:4
  • Item Description:ASSEMBLAGE DEDICATED TO U.S. ARMY CORPORAL (CPL) JOHN ROBERT POFF AND CONSISTING OF: COMPONENT (A) LETTER ENVELOPE, COMPONENT (B) PHOTOCOPIED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING, COMPONENT (C) PHOTOCOPIED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING, & COMPONENT (D) PHOTOCOPIED FUNERAL PROGRAM. COMPONENT (A) LETTER ENVELOPE. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED, WHITE PAPER ENVELOPE WITH A TRIANGULARLY SHAPED, ADHESIVE CLOSURE FLAP AT THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE. AN INSCRIPTION HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS AT THE CENTER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE SPECIFIES THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WALL HONOREE TO WHOM THE ASSEMBLAGE IS DEDICATED, AS WELL HIS MILITARY RANK/GRADE AND HIS CASUALTY STATUS/DATE, OFFERS A PERSONAL DEDICATION FROM THE DONOR, AND NOTES THE DATE OF DONATION AT THE VVM, "CHERRE AND CORP. E-4 JOHN R POFF / KILLED 2/3/69 / I STILL REMEMBER.... / (A TEENAGER, NOW IN HIS 30'S, FROM GRAND HAVEN, MICH) / 10/ /86". COMPONENTS (B - D) WERE ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED AT THE WALL FOLDED INTO THIRDS (1/3) AND HOUSED INSIDE THE LETTER ENVELOPE. COMPONENT (B) PHOTOCOPIED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A BLACK & WHITE PHOTOCOPY UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED, LETTER-SIZED PAPER. THE PHOTOCOPY DEPICTS A NEWSPAPER CLIPPING OF THE FRONT PAGE (PAGE ONE (1)) OF THE GRAND HAVEN DAILY TRIBUNE DATED, "MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1969". AT THE UPPER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF THE CLIPPING IS A BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINT (PORTRAIT ORIENTATION) WHICH DEPICTS A YOUNG, CAUCASIAN-AMERICAN WOMAN WITH SHORT, CURLY BRUNETTE HAIR AND WEARING A LIGHT-COLORED KNIT SWEATER WHILE SEATED AT A TABLE. THE YOUNG WOMAN IS PICTURED TIGHTLY CLUTCHING (WITH BOTH ARMS) A MILITARY ISSUE, U.S. ARMY ENLISTED MEN'S PEAKED CAP WHILE A MILITARY TELEGRAM RESTS UPON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF HER. A CAPTION PRINTED BELOW THE PHOTOGRAPH IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS IDENTIFIES THE SUBJECT OF THE PHOTO, THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF ITS CAPTURE, AND PROVIDES ADDITIONAL CONTEXT FOR THE IMAGE, "END OF HONEYMOON - CHEREE YAEGER POFF, 18, CLUTCHES HAT OF HUSBAND, PFC. JOHN R. POFF, 18, AFTER READING PENTAGON TELEGRAM INFORMING HER HE HAD DIED OF WOUNDS FEB. 3 RECEIVED WHEN A BOOBY TRAP EXPLODED IN VIETNAM. / THE WAUKESHA, WIS. TEENS, SWEETHEARTS SINCE SEVENTH GRADE, WERE MARRIED JAN. 2 AND HAD SPENT 10 DAYS TOGETHER BEFORE HE WENT TO VIETNAM WITH THE 25TH INFANTRY. / (AP WIREPHOTO.)" EXCERPTS FROM THREE (3) OTHER ARTICLES UPON THE FRONT PAGE CLIPPING ARE ALSO PICTURED IN THE PHOTOCOPY, AND REFERENCE (FROM THE UPPER, PROPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER TO THE LOWER, PROPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER, PROCEEDING CLOCKWISE): AN UPCOMING MILITARY ROCKET LAUNCH, THE PURCHASE/TAKEOVER OF A LOCAL BUSINESS, & A RECENT SNOWSTORM, RESPECTIVELY. THE PHOTOCOPIED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED AT THE WALL FOLDED INTO THIRDS (1/3) AND HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (A), ALONG WITH COMPONENTS (C & D). COMPONENT (C) PHOTOCOPIED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A BLACK & WHITE PHOTOCOPY UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED, LETTER-SIZED PAPER. THE PHOTOCOPY DEPICTS THREE (3) SEPARATE NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS FROM UNIDENTIFIED PUBLICATIONS. THE FIRST (1ST) NEWSPAPER CLIPPING AT THE PROPER RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE PHOTOCOPY IS OF AN ARTICLE ENTITLED, "200 LETTERS RECEIVED / PHOTO BRINGS REACTION", REFERENCES THE PUBLISHED NEWSPAPER PHOTOGRAPH IN COMPONENT (B), AND IN CONTENT DISCUSSES THE OUTPOURING OF REACTION TO THE NATIONAL PUBLICATION BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP) OF THE FREEMAN PHOTOGRAPH BY STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER RALPH EICHHOLZ DEPICTING CHEREE POFF, WIDOW OF U.S. ARMY CORPORAL (CPL) JOHN ROBERT POFF, GRIEVING UPON RECEIVING NEWS OF HER HUSBANDS DEATH IN VIETNAM. THE ARTICLE RECOUNTS THAT, "ALTHOUGH THE COUPLE HAD BEEN GRADE SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS, THEY HAD BEEN MARRIED ONLY A MONTH WHEN THE SOLDIER-BRIDEGROOM WAS KILLED IN AC-TION [sic]", AND PROCEEDS TO QUOTE FROM NUMEROUS CORRESPONDENCE, CONDOLENCES, & LETTERS OF SYMPATHY SENT TO MRS. POFF BY THOSE WHO HAD VIEWED THE AP PHOTOGRAPH OF HER. THE ARTICLE THEN PROCEEDS TO NOTE THAT MRS. POFF, "[...] REALLY IS AMAZED AT HOW MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT OF HER THAT DON'T KNOW HER", STATES THAT SHE HAD ALWAYS CONSIDERED HERSELF AS CPL POFF'S SPOUSE (DESPITE THEIR BRIEF MARRIAGE), AND QUOTES CPL POFF'S SISTERS-IN-LAW AS CHARACTERIZING CHEREE & CPL POFF'S STORY AS, "[...] ONLY ONE OF MILLIONS BEHIND THE CASUALTY FIGURES." THE SECOND (2ND) NEWSPAPER CLIPPING AT THE UPPER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF THE PHOTOCOPY IS FROM PAGE, "2" AND IS OF AN OBITUARY ENTITLED, "IN MEMORIAM / CORP. E-4 JOHN R. POFF". THE OBITUARY IS SIGNED, "I LOVE YOU, HUSBAND - / YOUR WIFE, TRIX" AND READS, "IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY BELOV-ED [sic] HUSBAND WHO WAS KILLED IN VIET-NAM [sic] FEBRUARY 3, 1969, AND WHOSE 19TH BIRTHDAY WOULD HAVE BEEN MARCH 2. / FOR COUNTRY AND HIS FLAG HE FOUGHT / UPON THE BATTLEFIELD; / WITH PROVEN COURAGE HE STRODE ON. / NOR WOULD HE EVER YIELD. / UNTIL THE GREAT COMMANDER CALLED / THE BRAVE ONE TO COME HOME; / FOR A PROMOTION TO THE SKIES, / FROM WHICH HE SHALL NOT ROAM. / SO NOW HE SLEEPS BENEATH HIS FLAG, / AND STILL I WISH HIM NEAR. / BUT FROM HIS COURAGE I SHALL LEARN / TO HAVE NO THOUGHT OF FEAR." THE THIRD (3RD) NEWSPAPER CLIPPING AT THE CENTER, PROPER LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE PHOTOCOPY IS FROM PAGE, "3" AND IS OF AN ARTICLE ENTITLED, "CARD OF THANKS". THE BRIEF ARTICLE IS AUTHORED BY, "MRS. CHEREE POFF AND HER FAMILY" AND IN CONTENT OFFERS THANKS AND APPRECIATION FROM THE POFF FAMILY TO THOSE WHO SUPPORTED THE FAMILY FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF CPL POFF IN COMBAT IN VIETNAM. THE ARTICLE READS, "WE TAKE THIS MEANS OF EXPRESSING OUR SINCERE THANKS TO FRIENDS, AND NEIGHBORS FOR THE MANY KINDNESSES SHOWN US DURING THE DEATH OF OUR BELOVED HUSBAND, SON-IN-LAW AND BROTHER-IN-LAW CORP. E-4 JOHN R. POFF. / SPECIAL THANKS TO: HANSEN FUNERAL HOME, PASTOR JAMES WILCH, ORGANIST, SOLOIST, MILITARY HONOR GUARD, PALLBEARERS, THE MRS.' PETERSON, WHITNEY, 7 THORWALDSEN OF V.F.W. AUXILIARY, HIAWATHA 400 LADIES BOWLING LEAGUE, AND FOR THE HELP OF MAJOR CHAS. CHANDLER. / ALSO, THANKS TO RALPH EICHOLZ [sic] AND THE FREEMAN STAFF." THE PHOTOCOPIED NEWSPAPER CLIPPING WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED AT THE WALL FOLDED INTO THIRDS (1/3) AND HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (A), ALONG WITH COMPONENTS (B & D). COMPONENT (D) PHOTOCOPIED FUNERAL PROGRAM. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A BLACK & WHITE PHOTOCOPY UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED, LETTER-SIZED PAPER. THE PHOTOCOPY DEPICTS A FUNERAL PROGRAM PREPARED BY, "WM. R. HANSEN FUNERAL HOME" FOR A MEMORIAL SERVICE HELD FOR U.S. ARMY CORPORAL (CPL) JOHN ROBERT POFF FOLLOWING HIS DEATH IN VIETNAM IN 1969. THE UPPER AND LOWER EDGES OF THE FUNERAL PROGRAM ARE ADORNED BY PRINTED, DECORATIVE GEOMETRIC BORDERS INTERSPERSED WITH FLORAL MOTIFS, WHILE THE PROPER RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE FUNERAL PROGRAM BEARS THE TEXT OF THE CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL PSALM 23 (I.E. "THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD; I SHALL NOT WANT, HE MAKETH ME TO LIE DOWN IN GREEN PASTURES [...]") PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT. THE PROPER LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE FUNERAL PROGRAM IS ALSO PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS AND IS HEADED, "IN MEMORY OF / CPL. E-4 JOHN ROBERT JOSEPH POFF", LISTS HIS BIRTHDAY, "DATE OF BIRTH / MARCH 2, 1950", CASUALTY DATE, "DATE OF DEATH / FEBRUARY 3, 1969, VIETNAM", & THE SCHEDULING OF FUNERAL SERVICES, "DATE AND HOUR OF SERVICES / THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 1969, 2:00 P.M. / HELD AT / ST. MARK'S EVANG. LUTHERAN CHURCH / 424 HYDE PARK AVE., WAUKESHA", IDENTIFIES THE PRESIDING FIGURE, "CLERGYMAN / PASTOR JAMES L. WILCH", AND NOTES CPL POFF'S FINAL RESTING PLACE, "PLACE OF INTERMENT / PRAIRIE HOME CEMETERY / WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN". THE PHOTOCOPIED FUNERAL PROGRAM WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED AT THE WALL FOLDED INTO THIRDS (1/3) AND HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (A), ALONG WITH COMPONENTS (B & C).
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the handwritten & printed inscriptions upon COMPONENTS (A - D) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENT (A), obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "Cherre and CORP. E-4 John R. Poff / KILLED 2/3/69 / I STILL REMEMBER.... / (a teenager, now in his 30's, / From Grand Haven, Mich) / 10/ /86" / [COMPONENT (B), obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "[...]N DAILY TRIBUNE / [...] Fruitport and North Ottowa County - "Where Three Waters Meet" / [...] AN, 49417 - MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 1969 12 PAGES Price, Ten Cents / END OF HONEYMOON - Cheree Yaeger Poff, 18, clutches hat of husband, Pfc. John R. Poff, 18, after reading Pentagon telegram informing her he had died of wounds Feb. 3 received when a booby trap exploded in Vietnam. / The Waukesha, Wis. teens, sweethearts since seventh grade, were married Jan. 2 and had spent 10 days together before he went to Vietnam with the 25th Infantry. / (AP wirephoto.)" / [COMPONENT (C), obverse object surface, newspaper clipping #1, printed inscriptions] "200 Letters Received / Photo Brings Reaction / A TEENAGE widow's "John Scrapbook" filled with gum they chewed together and popcorn he put down her back among other happy memories, sadly closes with hundreds of let-ters [sic] from people across the nation extending sympathy at his death. / The letters swamped Mrs. John Poff after a Freeman photograph, by former staff photographer Ralph Eichholz, of her grieving over her husband's death in Vietnam was used nationally by the Associated Press. / Although the couple had been grade school sweethearts, they had been married only a month when the soldier-bridegroom was killed in ac-tion [sic]. / Nearly 200 letters coming from as far away as Texas and New York have been receiv-ed [sic] by the 18-year-old widow, thanking John for giving his life, and extending sym-pathy [sic]. / Third through eighth graders from Strang (Nebraska) school sent prayers. / One little girl wrote: "I see your picture in the paper and I thought it would be nice to write you and tell you I'm sorry, too. / But maybe his home was ready in heaven, so God Brought him up to heaven. / That's how God wants it..." / A teenager wrote an open letter to a Grand Haven, Mich., newspaper: "You seem like a part of me, Cheree, because we're both of the same generation...At least he was a man who believed in something...He believed in you, Cheree. / Never forget him...in the meantime, don't forget how to love." / One soldier in the St. Louis Veterans hospital questioned the tragedy of death, explaining that while he was in Korea, his wife was killed in St. Louis by a drunken driver. / A sympathy card came signed simply "Two Ameri-cans [sic] Who Care." / A young, Westerly, R.I., mother wrote that her first son was born the day that the Poffs were married and died two days after John was kill-ed [sic]. / She said: "I'll pray for your husband every night when I pray for my son." / The photo brought to mind her own selfishness for Janice Piehl of Marion, N.D., who noted: "I was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't be with my guy who is in the Army and he isn't even in Vietnam yet." / From Gardener, Ill.: "I only wish I could do some magic to help comfort you. / I can only say thanks to John for giving his life for us..." / Letters were also sent by many parents, and wives of other veterans of Vietnam who are serving there or have lost their lives. / Mrs. Poff, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Yaeger, 115 Columbia Ave., is the youngest of four daughters. / Two of her sisters, Mrs. Lee Hickey, 1195 Lincoln Ave. and Mrs. Harry Hickey, 912 Beechwood Ave., said they had started answering the letters, until Cheree is able to. / She really is amazed at how many people thought of her that don't know her. / Cheree has considered herself Mrs. Poff since they were grade school sweethearts, the sisters said, explaining that they perhaps had a happier life together in those 10 days than some people do in a life time. / Letters were important to the soldier too as John was in Vietnam three weeks before he received mail, not that it wasn't sent. / Forty letters came back unopened, not having reached him in time. / At his own request Poff is buried beside his best friend who was killed in Vietnam last September. / "John always joked about making the front page," his sisters-in-law noted, adding sadly that the story of John and Cheree is only one of millions behind the casualty figures." / [COMPONENT (C), obverse object surface, newspaper clipping #2, printed inscriptions] "IN MEMORIAM 2 / CORP. E-4 JOHN R. POFF / IN LOVING MEMORY of my belov-ed [sic] husband who was killed in Viet-nam [sic] February 3, 1969, and whose 19th birthday would have been March 2. / For country and his flag he fought / Upon the battlefield; / With proven courage he strode on. / Nor would he ever yield. / Until the Great Commander called / The brave one to come home; / For a promotion to the skies, / From which he shall not roam. / So now he sleeps beneath his flag, / And still I wish him near. / But from his courage I shall learn / To have no thought of fear. / I LOVE YOU, HUSBAND - / Your wife Trix" / [COMPONENT (C), obverse object surface, newspaper clipping #3, printed inscriptions] "CARD OF THANKS 3 / WE take this means of expressing our sincere thanks to friends, and neighbors for the many kindnesses shown us during the death of our beloved husband, son-in-law and brother-in-law Corp. E-4 John R. Poff / Special thanks to: Hansen Funeral home, Pastor James Wilch, organist, soloist, Military Honor Guard, pallbearers, the Mrs.' Peterson, Whitney, & Thorwaldsen of V.F.W. Auxiliary Hiawatha 400 Ladies Bowling League, and for the help of Major Chas. Chandler. / Also, thanks to Ralph Eicholz [sic] and the Freeman Staff. / Mrs. Cheree Poff and her family." / [COMPONENT (D), obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "THE LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. / He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. / He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of right-eousness [sic] for His name's sake. / Yea, though I walk though the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. / Thou preparest a table before me in the presence mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. / Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. / IN MEMORY OF / CPL. E-4 JOHN ROBERT JOSEPH POFF / DATE OF BIRTH / MARCH 2, 1950 / DATE OF DEATH / FEBRUARY 3, 1969, VIETNAM / DATE AND HOUR OF SERVICES / THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 1969, 2:00 P.M. / HELD AT / ST. MARK'S EVANG. LUTHERAN CHURCH / 424 HYDE PARK AVE., WAUKESHA / CLERGYMAN / PASTOR JAMES L. WILCH / PLACE OF INTERMENT / PRAIRIE HOME CEMETERY / WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN / Arrangements by / Wm. R. Hansen Funeral Home"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 4.4g (Weight of COMPONENT (A) only)
    • Item Length: 10.5cm
    • Item Width: 24.0cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
  • Item Notes:Dimensions listed above are for COMPONENT (A) only. Measurements for COMPONENTS (B - D) are as follows:

    [COMPONENT (B)]:
    27.9cm (L) X 21.6cm (W) X 4.9g (Weight)

    [COMPONENT (C)]:
    27.9cm (L) X 21.6cm (W) X 4.9g (Weight)

    [COMPONENT (D)]:
    27.9cm (L) X 21.6cm (W) X 4.9g (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.