Items Left at The Wall

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assemblage

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 31172
  • Accession Date:10/20/2010
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class (PFC) Thomas Duane Glawe and consisting of: a commemorative POW*MIA bracelet & a handwritten note. The bracelet bears engraved inscriptions specifying PFC Glawe's military rank, name, branch of service, casualty date, theater of military operations, & Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) Wall location information which read, "PFC THOMAS D. GLAWE - USMC / C/1ST RECON 06-16-66 VIETNAM / P8E L52". The handwritten note accompanying the bracelet is addressed to, "Tommy", is signed, "YOUR FRIEND & BROTHER / Jack", and reads, "I WORN [sic] THIS BRACELET TO KEEP YOU CLOSE TO MY HEART. / ONE DAY IT BROKE AND FELL FROM MY WRIST. / I THINK IT WAS YOUR WAY OF SAYING LET GO." The artifact assemblage was left at Panel 8E of The Wall by a donor identified only as, "Jack" between July - October 2010.

bracelet, commemorative POW*MIA

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 32623
  • Accession Date:5/10/2011
  • Item Summary:Broken commemorative POW*MIA bracelet dedicated to U.S. Air Force Colonel (Col) Warren Leroy Anderson. The bracelet bears engraved inscriptions specifying Col Anderson's military rank, name, & casualty date which read, "CAPT. WARREN ANDERSON / 4-26-66". The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor between March - May 2011.

assemblage


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 31470
  • Accession Date:3/22/2011
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: DAVID L BELL
  • Item Summary:Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal (LCpl) David Lynn Bell and consisting of two (2) commemorative POW*MIA bracelets and two (2) printed letters. The bracelets bear engraved inscriptions specifying LCpl Bell's military rank, name, branch of military service, casualty date, theater of military operations, home state of record, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) Wall location information, "P23W / L109". The first letter recounts the author's service in Vietnam with LCpl Bell, the brotherhood the two men shared, and LCpl Bell's death in combat. In the second letter, the author describes reliving the events surrounding LCpl Bell's death each night and informs his former comrade that he will be leaving the letters and a bracelet at The Wall over the upcoming Veterans Day holiday. The second letter concludes with the lines, "It is very difficult to express my feelings without falling apart. / It's time to release myself from the prison that I'm in, only I hold the key. / I'll pray and ask God to help me open the door and be free. / You will never be forgotten." The artifact assemblage was left at Panel W23 of The Wall by a U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran identified only as, "Joe" on Veterans Day, November 11, 2010.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00253
  • Record Component Qty:4
  • Item Description:ASSEMBLAGE DEDICATED TO U.S. MARINE CORPS LANCE CORPORAL (LCPL) DAVID LYNN BELL AND CONSISTING OF: COMPONENTS (A & B) TWO (2) COMMEMORATIVE POW*MIA BRACELETS, COMPONENT (C) PRINTED LETTER, & COMPONENT (D) PRINTED LETTER. COMPONENTS (A & B) TWO (2) IDENTICAL COMMEMORATIVE POW*MIA BRACELETS. EACH OBJECT CONSISTS OF A FLAT STRIP OF RECTANGULARLY SHAPED, BLACK COLORED ALUMINUM [?] METAL WITH ROUNDED ENDS BENT INTO A ROUGHLY CIRCULAR SHAPE TO FORM A BRACELET. ENGRAVED INSCRIPTIONS AT THE EXTERIOR, OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACES OF EACH BRACELET BEAR LCPL BELL'S MILITARY RANK, NAME, BRANCH OF MILITARY SERVICE, CASUALTY DATE, & THEATER OF MILITARY OPERATIONS, "LCPL DAVID LYNN BELL / USMC 08 JUNE 69 VIETNAM". TWO (2) SECONDARY ENGRAVED INSCRIPTIONS UPON THE EXTERIOR, REVERSE OBJECT SURFACES OF EACH BRACELET BEAR THE TWO (2) LETTER ABBREVIATION OF LCPL BELL'S HOME STATE OF RECORD, "TN", AS WELL AS HIS VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WALL LOCATION INFORMATION, "P23W / L109" & A GRAPHIC DEPICTION OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS EMBLEM (I.E. EAGLE, GLOBE, & ANCHOR). COMPONENT (C) PRINTED LETTER. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF LETTER-SIZED, WHITE, UNLINED PAPER. THE LETTER IS ADDRESSED, "DEAR DAVID", IS SIGNED, "YOUR FRIEND, / JOE", IS DATED, "JUNE 17, 2006", AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "THIS MONTH IS THE 37TH ANNIVERSARY OF YOUR DEATH AND THE VIETNAM VETERANS MOVING WALL HAS COME TO MY TOWN. / BEING THERE EVERY DAY MAKES ME FEEL CLOSE TO YOU." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR OF THE LETTER INFORMS HIS FORMER COMRADE IN ARMS THAT HE LOVES AND MISSES HIM, OWES HIS LIFE AND FAMILY TO LCPL BELL, AND PRAYS FOR AND TO HIM REGULARLY. THE AUTHOR THEN PROCEEDS TO DESCRIBE HIS FIRST DAYS IN THE BUSH IN VIETNAM WHEN LCPL BELL, "[...] TOOK ME UNDER YOUR WING AND SAID "I'M GOING TO MAKE YOU A SURVIVOR", NOTING THAT LCPL BELL WAS A SQUAD LEADER OF WEAPONS, AS WELL AS A FRIEND AND MENTOR LOOKED UP TO BY OTHERS IN THE UNIT AND A GODLY MAN WITH WHOM THE AUTHOR SHARED, "[...] A BROTHERHOOD THAT NO ONE BUT US COULD EVER UNDERSTAND OR RELATE TO." THE AUTHOR THEN RECOUNTS HIS UNIT'S ENTRY INTO "ARIZONA" IN JUNE 1969 AND HIS ASSIGNMENT IN AN UNSAFE AREA, RECALLING OF LCPL BELL THAT, "YOU COULD HAVE STAYED IN THE C.P. AND HAVE BEEN SAFE. / YOU COULD HAVE SENT SOMEONE ELSE, BUT YOU CAME YOURSELF." THE AUTHOR SUBSEQUENTLY DESCRIBES HIS FINAL EVENING SPENT SHARING STORIES AND FIGHTING OFF ENEMY FORCES TOGETHER WITH A MORTALLY WOUNDED LCPL BELL, SAYING OF THE EXPERIENCE, "ONLY YOU AND I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED THAT HORRIBLE NIGHT." THE AUTHOR THEN INFORMS LCPL BELL THAT HE CORRESPONDED WITH AND VISITED LCPL BELL'S FAMILY AFTER HIS DEATH, AND REASSURES HIS FRIEND THAT HIS FAMILY WAS MADE AWARE OF BOTH HIS CHARACTER AND HIS COMMITMENT TO GOD. THE AUTHOR THEN CONCLUDES HIS LETTER WITH THE LINE, "THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN AND YOU NEVER WILL BE." THE LETTER IS PRESENTLY HOUSED INSIDE A THREE (3) HOLE-PUNCHED, CLEAR POLY-PLASTIC SHEET PROTECTOR ALONG WITH COMPONENT (D). COMPONENT (D) PRINTED LETTER. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF LETTER-SIZED, WHITE, UNLINED PAPER. THE LETTER IS ADDRESSED, "DEAR DAVID", IS SIGNED, "SEMPER FI / YOUR FRIEND, / JOE", IS DATED, "NOVEMBER 8, 2010", AND OPENS WITH THE LINES, "THIS VETERANS DAY, NOVEMBER 11, I WILL BE VISITING THE VIETNAM MEMORIAL. / I'LL BE LEAVING THIS LETTER AND A BRACELET, BUT I WILL CONTINUE TO CARRY MY MEMORY, RESPECT AND LOVE FOR YOU." IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR OF THE LETTER OPENS BY REFERRING TO HIS UNCHANGING FEELINGS FOR LCPL BELL AND STATES THAT, "FOR 41 YEARS, I HAVE BEEN LIVING IN A MENTAL PRISON, THINKING OF YOU AND WISHING SO MUCH THINGS TURNED OUT DIFFERENTLY." HE THEN PROCEEDS TO DESCRIBE RELIVING THE EVENTS SURROUNDING LCPL BELL'S DEATH EACH EVENING, QUESTIONING THE DECISIONS HE MADE AND REEVALUATING THE CREDIT HE DESERVES FOR THE ACTIONS HE TOOK THAT SAVED THE LIVES OF OTHER COMRADES THAT NIGHT. HE THEN ACKNOWLEDGES THE SELF-EVALUATIVE PROCESS THAT HAS LED HIM TO THE REVELATION THAT HIS FRIEND AND FORMER COMRADE WOULD HAVE WANTED HIM TO LIVE A HAPPY AND FULFILLED LIFE FREE OF PAIN, AND CONCLUDES HIS LETTER WITH THE LINES, "IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO EXPRESS MY FEELINGS WITHOUT FALLING APART. / IT'S TIME TO RELEASE MYSELF FROM THE PRISON THAT I'M IN, ONLY I HOLD THE KEY. / I'LL PRAY AND ASK GOD TO HELP ME OPEN THE DOOR AND BE FREE. / YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN." THE LETTER IS PRESENTLY HOUSED INSIDE A THREE (3) HOLE-PUNCHED, CLEAR POLY-PLASTIC SHEET PROTECTOR ALONG WITH COMPONENT (C).
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the engraved & printed inscriptions upon COMPONENTS (A - D) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENTS (A & B), exterior, obverse object surfaces, engraved inscriptions] "LCPL DAVID LYNN BELL / USMC 08 JUNE 69 VIETNAM" / [COMPONENTS (A & B), exterior, reverse object surfaces, engraved inscriptions] "TN / P23W / L109" / [COMPONENT (C), obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "June 17, 2006 / Dear David, / This month is the 37th anniversary of your death and the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall has come to my town. / Being there every day makes me feel close to you. / Where do I begin, David, to tell you how much I love you and miss you. / Over the years, looking at my wife and children, my thoughts have always been, "If not for David, this would not be". / You have always been in my prayers. / I've prayed for you and to you. / I remember the first day I was dropped off in the bush. / You took me under your wing and said "I'm going to make you a survivor". / You were always looking out for the other guy. / You became the squad leader of weapons, 2 gun teams and a rocket man. / You were looked up to by the entire platoon and you were a friend. / I remember you carrying a pocket bible [sic] and referring to God once in a while. / We all became very close in the short period of time we were together, a brotherhood that no one but us could ever understand or relate to. / We moved on day by day, week by week, counting the days when we would return to the world. / June of '69, our Company crossed the river and moved into Arizona. / I was put in a position that was not very safe, with a young man that only had 4 days in country. / It was dusk before you found out where I was. / You could have stayed in the C.P. and have been safe. / You could have sent someone else, but you came yourself. / We stayed awake that night letting the new man sleep. / We talked about home dinners and girl friends. / You told me that you wanted to marry your high school sweetheart, Betty. / We both spoke as we looked forward into the darkness. / It was you that saw them coming up on us. / You nudged me and pointed. / As we walked backwards firing our weapons, you fell, I dropped down beside you. / You said "my chest". / They set their machine gun up within 6 feet of us on the other side of the bush. / Only you and I know what happened that horrible night. / After your death, I wrote to your mother. / She told me they were a good Christian family and when you left home, they felt you didn't believe in God. / I wrote back and told her about the pocket Bible, the man you were and how much you were loved. / I said "if you were not resting in the arms of Jesus, I hope I never see it". / After returning home, I had the opportunity to visit your mom, dad, brother and sister. / The first night Gary said "I just wish I had one more time to say goodbye." / Thirty-seven years you are not forgotten and you never will be. / Your Friend, / Joe / Joe [handwritten signature]" / [COMPONENT (D), obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "November 8, 2010 / Dear David, / This Veterans Day, November 11, I will be visiting the Vietnam Memorial. / I'll be leaving this letter and a bracelet, but I will continue to carry my memory, respect and love for you. / My letter from June 2006 just about covers how I feel about you. / I have never and maybe never will get over your death. / For 41 years, I have been living in a mental prison, thinking of you and wishing so much things turned out differently. / Thoughts go through my mind at all different times of the day. / Nights are the worst, when I lay in bed and relive that night over and over. / I can see you, every rock and bush and I go through everything that happened that night. / I have always questioned the decisions that I made and never gave myself any credit for a lot of the things that I did: attacking the NVA machine gun and forcing them off the hill. / If they were able to stay in that position, they would have killed a lot of Marines. / I have been asked "if it were me that had gotten killed that night, what would I have wanted for David?" / My answer, "I would not want him to live with my pain, I would have wanted David to live a happy life with Betty." / Then I was told "don't you think that's what David wants for you?" / It is very difficult to express my feelings without falling apart. / It's time to release myself from the prison that I'm in, only I hold the key. / I'll pray and ask God to help me open the door and be free. / You will never be forgotten. / Semper Fi / Your Friend, / Joe / Joe [handwritten signature]"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 7.5g (Weight of COMPONENT (A) only)
    • Item Length: N/A
    • Item Width: 1.2cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: 7.0cm (Diameter) / 22.0cm (Circumference) / 5.0cm (Depth)
  • Item Notes:Dimensions listed above are for COMPONENT (A) only. Measurements for COMPONENTS (B - D) are as follows:

    [COMPONENT (B)]:
    1.2cm (W) X 7.7cm (Diameter) X 24.2cm (Circumference) X 5.4cm (Depth) X 7.5g (Weight)

    [COMPONENTS (C & D)]:
    28.8cm (L) X 23.3cm (W) X 25.0g (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.