Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and the National Park Service (NPS) today unveiled Items Left at The Wall – a virtual collection of nearly 500 items left at The Wall that can now be seen at www.vvmf.org/items. This is the largest exhibit of items left at The Wall to be made available online, and is representative of the 400,000 items left since The Wall was dedicated in 1982.
Shortly after its dedication, visitors to the Memorial began leaving items in memoriam to those killed and missing service members listed on The Wall. The NPS collects, catalogs, and preserves these objects as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection. Once the Education Center at The Wall is funded and constructed, approximately 4,000 – 6,000 items will be on public display, selected with curatorial support from VVMF.
“This is a collection of the people, by the people, and now available for the people to honor the service of all Vietnam veterans and remember the sacrifice of those who gave all,” said Jim Knotts, president and chief executive officer of VVMF. “These items tell an important story about the Vietnam War and era. Making these items available to the public is an important step toward building the Education Center at The Wall. I know website visitors will be awed and moved as they learn about these items, and they will understand how magnificent it will be to see 4,000-6,000 actual items on display once the Education Center is funded and built.”
“Since the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened more than 30 years ago, family, friends and loved ones of the more than 58,000 men and women listed on The Wall have left keepsakes and remembrances as part of their grieving process,” said Karen Cucurullo, acting superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks. “As custodians of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, the National Park Service is proud to partner with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to make this remarkable collection available online and tell the stories not only the men and women who served and made the ultimate sacrifice, but those they left behind.”
The collection of items left at The Wall tell the stories of the 58,307 service members listed on The Wall. It tells of the families, the buddies, the friends, the onlookers – everyone impacted by the lives cut short by war. Themes of the collection include the camaraderie among soldiers, the ongoing suffering of those who served, the role of allies in the war, the impact of human sacrifice on families, the national dialogue on war and peace, and the legacy of service which continues after Vietnam.
The website will be updated with additional items as cataloging of the collection progresses.
To learn more about the Education Center at The Wall and how you can help make it a reality, go to www.buildthecenter.org.
The National Park Service’s National Mall and Memorial Parks preserves, protects, and interprets the symbolic and monumental civic spaces and commemorative works in the center of the Nation’s Capital that honor American ideals and values, distinguished public figures, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions. On the National Mall these sites include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. National Mall and Memorial Parks also serves as a public park and open space for active civic and cultural engagement, recreation, and public enjoyment.
About VVMF and the Education Center at The Wall
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the nonprofit organization that built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C. in 1982. VVMF is dedicated to honoring and preserving the legacy of service and educating all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War.
Three decades later, the mission continues as VVMF raises funds to build the Education Center at The Wall. The Center will be an interactive learning facility on the National Mall where our military heroes' stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten. The Education Center will feature the faces and stories of the more than 58,000 men and women on The Wall and honor America's Legacy of Service, including those serving in our nation's Armed Forces today. The lead gift for the campaign to build the Education Center at The Wall was provided by Time Warner, Inc. To learn more about VVMF and the Education Center at The Wall, visit www.vvmf.org or call 866-990-WALL.