assemblage
VIEW ALL PHOTOS (5)

From the collection of the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks.

assemblage

CATALOG NUMBER

VIVE 34062

ACCESSION DATE

11/06/1990

ASSOCIATED NAMES ON THE WALL
ITEM SUMMARY

Artifact assemblage dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class (PFC) Donald Gary Detmer and consisting of a baby sweater and a handwritten envelope & accompanying letter from PFC Detmer's mother. The envelope bears PFC Detmer's Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) Wall location information handwritten at the obverse, and contains the letter from his mother addressed to, "My Dearest Son", signed, 'Love, Mom", and dated, "10/1/90". The letter describes her first visit to The Wall to view her son's name, an act for which she had previously been unprepared but which she knew she must do before her own death. In the letter, PFC Detmer's mother informs her son that she intended to bring his teddy bear with her to leave at The Wall but, being unable to part with it, has brought his first sweater instead. The letter closes with the lines, "You are always in my heart. / How I love you. / God be with you til [sic] we meet again." The artifact assemblage was left at The Wall by the mother of U.S. Marine Corps PFC Detmer on October 1, 1990.

ITEM DESCRIPTION

ASSEMBLAGE DEDICATED TO U.S. MARINE CORPS PRIVATE FIRST CLASS (PFC) DONALD GARY DETMER AND CONSISTING OF: COMPONENT (A) BABY SWEATER, COMPONENT (B) LETTER ENVELOPE, AND COMPONENT (C) HANDWRITTEN LETTER. COMPONENT (A) BABY SWEATER. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A V-NECK STYLE, LONG-SLEEVED, BABY SWEATER, KNIT FROM LIGHT GREEN YARN WITH FOUR (4) FAUX PEARL POLY-PLASTIC BUTTONS THAT SERVE TO SECURE THE GARMENT AT EACH HIP. THE GARMENT APPEARS TO BE HANDMADE. COMPONENT (B) LETTER ENVELOPE. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER-SIZED ENVELOPE, COMPRISED OF LIGHT BLUE PAPER STOCK WITH A GRAPHIC OF A FLOWER BOUQUET PRINTED IN GRAYSCALE UPON THE FLAP AT THE OBJECT REVERSE SURFACE. THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE BEARS A HANDWRITTEN INSCRIPTION IN BLUE INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS COMPRISING PFC DETMER'S VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) WALL LOCATION INFORMATION AND WHICH READS, "PANEL # 15E / LINE 104 / DONALD G. DETMER U.S.M.C." THE ACCOMPANYING HANDWRITTEN LETTER (COMPONENT (C)) WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (B). COMPONENT (C) HANDWRITTEN LETTER. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A HANDWRITTEN LETTER IN BLUE INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, LINED PAPER. THE LETTER IS ADDRESSED TO, "MY DEAREST SON," IS SIGNED, "LOVE, MOM", AND IS DATED, "10/1/90". THE LETTER IS FROM THE MOTHER OF PFC DETMER, AND IN CONTENT REFERENCES HER FIRST VISIT TO THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) TO VIEW HER SON'S NAME, AN ACT WHICH SHE HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY UNPREPARED TO DO BUT KNEW SHE MUST DO BEFORE HER DEATH. IN THE LETTER, PFC DETMER'S MOTHER TELLS HER SON THAT SHE MISSES HIM AND THINKS OF HIM EVERY DAY, REGRETS THE YOUNG LIFE THAT WAS TAKEN FROM HIM SO QUICKLY, AND INFORMS HIM THAT SHE INTENDED TO BRING HIS TEDDY BEAR BUT, BEING UNABLE TO PART WITH IT, HAS BROUGHT HIS FIRST SWEATER INSTEAD. THE LETTER CLOSES WITH THE LINES, "YOU ARE ALWAYS IN MY HEART. / HOW I LOVE YOU. / GOD BE WITH YOU TIL [sic] WE MEET AGAIN".

ACCESSION GROUP

VIVE-00076

RECORD COPONENT QTY

3

ASSOCIATED ITEM TEXT

Text of the handwritten inscriptions upon COMPONENTS (B & C) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENT (B), obverse object surface, handwritten inscription] "Panel # 15 E / Line 104 / Donald G Detmer U.S.M.C." / [COMPONENT (C), obverse object surface, handwritten inscription] "10/1/90 / My Dearest Son, / Today I am coming to see your name on the "Wall." / I haven't been ready until now but I knew that I must see it before I die. / I miss you so much - I think of you every day. / You had so much of life to live and your life was taken so quickly. / With lump in throat and teary eyes I am on my way. / I wanted to bring your teddy bear but just couldn't part with it - instead I brought your first sweater. / You are always in my heart. / How I love you. / God be with you til [sic] we meet again. / Love, Mom"

ITEM DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT

Item Weight: 50.2g (Weight of COMPONENT (A) only)
Item Length: 21.6cm
Item Width: 49.5cm
Item Depth: 1.3cm (Thickness)

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT ON assemblage
POSTED ON 2.28.2021
POSTED BY: Bernie Hurford
I am deeply moved by your message. I lost a friend, killed January 21st 1968. I have read many messages but never have I been so moved as by yours. From now, I will pray each night for both you and your brave son.
God bless you both for your sacrifice and loss.
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POSTED ON 6.20.2016
POSTED BY: Sharyn
The ultimate sacrifice. A mother's love endures. My heart aches for this woman.
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POSTED ON 5.11.2016
POSTED BY: Keith
Don't tell grown men not to cry. The war ended when I was a young teenager....but I will never forget watching the reports from the war on the nightly news. Those men and woman are who we grew up knowing best....some, our own fathers. This is a reminder that the loss never goes away and PTSD, is a family thing, impacting and affecting civilians, family member of the service members, as well as the service member. I do hope his Mom was able to go to be with him with a peace in her heart that he never stopped watching over her till that day!! Thank you BOTH, for your service and sacrifice.
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