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

assemblage

CATALOG NUMBER

VIVE 15404

ACCESSION DATE

06/23/2009

ITEM SUMMARY

Artifact assemblage consisting of a metal oil drum lid, a wreath woven from wooden twigs, grasses, & faux flowers, and printed tags collectively comprising a memorial wreath left by the organization Second Voice for Children of Vietnam Veterans, Inc. in honor of U.S. Army and Vietnam War veteran Mike Miller and U.S. Marine Corps and Vietnam War veterans Richard Sowinski and Greg L. Pires. The oil drum lid is painted in a purple and orange color scheme reflecting a direct allusion to the marking of similar drums by the U.S. military in Vietnam which housed the toxic herbicidal defoliant known colloquially as, "Agent Orange". A printout affixed to the lid entitles the artifact assemblage, "Agent Orange Wreath", is dated, "MAY 25, 2009 MEMORIAL DAY", identifies the entire assemblage as having been left at The Wall by the activist organization, "SECOND VOICE", and consists of a narrative describing the suffering of Vietnam veterans who survived the war only to succumb to the deleterious health effects of Agent Orange defoliant exposure. This narrative goes on to relate these circumstances to a similar experience on the part of current U.S. Iraq & Afghanistan War veterans, while reaffirming Second Voice's organizational commitment to, "[...] help improve the lives of those who made sacrifices." Three (3) laminated tags affixed to the wreath assemblage bear the branch of service, theater of operations, years of service, a 'thank you' for that service, and the death dates for Mr. Sowinski, Pires, & Miller (who all died as a consequence of exposure to toxic defoliants in Vietnam). The artifact assemblage was left at The Wall by members of Second Voice for Children of Vietnam Veterans, Inc. on Memorial Day, May 25, 2009.

ITEM DESCRIPTION

ASSEMBLAGE CONSISTING OF: COMPONENT (A) OIL DRUM LID, COMPONENT (B) DECORATIVE WREATH, AND COMPONENT (C) THREE (3) LAMINATED MEMORIAL TAGS. COMPONENT (A) OIL DRUM LID. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LARGE, CIRCULARLY SHAPED STEEL METAL LID OF A TYPE TYPICALLY UTILIZED TO SECURE AN OIL DRUM. TWO (2) CIRCULARLY SHAPED, THREADED BUNGS, ALSO REFERRED TO AS, "PLUGS", ARE OBSERVED SCREWED INTO THE UPPER OBJECT SURFACE OF THE LID. THE ENTIRE LID APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SPRAY-PAINTED A PURPLE COLOR, WHILE A SINGLE ORANGE STRIPE HAS BEEN SPRAY-PAINTED ACROSS THE UPPER OBJECT SURFACE OF THE LID RUNNING DIAGONALLY FROM THE UPPER, PROPER LEFT-HAND TO THE LOWER, PROPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER; A DIRECT ALLUSION TO THE MARKINGS EMPLOYED BY THE U.S. MILITARY ON DRUMS OF A SIMILAR TYPE CONTAINING DEFOLIANT CHEMICALS IN VIETNAM. AFFIXED TO THE CENTER OF THE UPPER OBJECT SURFACE OF THE LID, VIA SOME FORM OF CHEMICAL ADHESIVE, IS A LAMINATED PRINTOUT WITH TEXT PRINTED IN BLACK INK, BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF CREAM COLORED, UNLINED PAPER STOCK. THIS PRINTOUT IS SUBSEQUENTLY LAMINATED INSIDE A CLEAR, POLY-PLASTIC MATERIAL. THE PRINTOUT IS ENTITLED, "AGENT ORANGE WREATH", IS DATED, "MAY 25, 2009 MEMORIAL DAY", IDENTIFIES THE ENTIRE ASSEMBLAGE AS HAVING BEEN LEFT BY THE ACTIVIST ORGANIZATION, "SECOND VOICE", AND CONSISTS OF A TWO (2) PARAGRAPH NARRATIVE AND A SINGLE QUOTATION WHICH DESCRIBES THE SUFFERING OF VIETNAM VETERANS WHO SURVIVED THE WAR ONLY TO SUCCUMB TO THE DELETERIOUS HEALTH EFFECTS OF AGENT ORANGE DEFOLIANT EXPOSURE, RELATES THAT TO A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE ON THE PART OF CURRENT U.S. IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WAR VETERANS, AND AFFIRMS THE ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT OF SECOND VOICE TO, "[...] HELP IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO MADE SACRIFICES". THE DECORATIVE WREATH (COMPONENT (B)) AND MEMORIAL TAGS (COMPONENT (C)) ARE PRESENTLY AFFIXED TO THE PERIMETER/CIRCUMFERENTIAL EDGES OF COMPONENT (A). COMPONENT (B) DECORATIVE WREATH. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A CIRCULARLY SHAPED, DECORATIVE WREATH COMPRISED OF WOODEN TWIGS AND SMALL BRANCHES, BUNCHES OF NATURAL AND PAINTED (PURPLE) GRASSES, AND FAUX FLOWER BOUQUETS CONSISTING OF GREEN NYLON LEAVES, GREEN POLY-PLASTIC STEMS, AND WHITE AND ORANGE NYLON FLOWER PETALS WOVEN TOGETHER INTO A ROUGHLY CIRCULAR RING. THE WREATH IS PRESENTLY AFFIXED TO THE PERIMETER/CIRCUMFERENTIAL EDGES OF THE OIL DRUM LID (COMPONENT (A)) VIA LENGTHS OF NARROW GAUGE WIRE STRUNG THROUGH HOLES DRILLED INTO THE RIM OF COMPONENT (A). THE THREE (3) MEMORIAL TAGS (COMPONENT (C)) ARE EACH PRESENTLY AFFIXED TO THE PROPER RIGHT-HAND, LOWER, CENTER, AND PROPER LEFT-HAND EDGES OF THE WREATH, RESPECTIVELY, VIA LENGTHS OF SILVER COLORED METAL BALL CHAIN. COMPONENT (C) THREE (3) LAMINATED MEMORIAL TAGS. EACH TAG CONSISTS OF A NOTE PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SEGMENT OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER. THE NOTES ARE DEDICATED TO THREE (3) U.S. MILITARY VETERANS (I.E. RICHARD SOWINSKI, GREG L. PIRES, AND MIKE MILLER) WHO SERVED IN VIETNAM AND LATER DIED AS A CONSEQUENCE OF THEIR EXPOSURE TO AGENT ORANGE CHEMICAL DEFOLIANT. THE TAGS BEAR EACH SERVICEMAN'S BRANCH OF SERVICE, THEATER OF OPERATIONS, YEARS OF SERVICE, AND A THANK YOU FOR THAT SERVICE PRINTED AT THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE. THE TAGS FOR MR. SOWINSKI AND MR. PIRES ALSO BEAR THEIR DEATH DATES. TWO (2) OF THE THREE (3) TAGS (THOSE DEDICATED TO RICHARD SOWINSKI AND MIKE MILLER) ARE MOUNTED ATOP A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SEGMENT OF COLORED CONSTRUCTION PAPER (RED FOR MR. SOWINSKI AND PURPLE FOR MR. MILLER), WHILE ALL THREE (3) ARE LAMINATED INSIDE A CLEAR, POLY-PLASTIC MATERIAL. ALL THREE (3) MEMORIAL TAGS ARE PRESENTLY AFFIXED TO THE DECORATIVE WREATH (COMPONENT (B)) VIA LENGTHS OF SILVER COLORED METAL BALL CHAIN STRUNG THROUGH HEART SHAPED PERFORATIONS CUT OUT OF THE PROPER RIGHT-HAND EDGE OF EACH TAG. THE PAINT SCHEME, AND USE OF THE OIL DRUM LID, REPRESENT A DIRECT REFERENCE TO THE TOXIC, HERBICIDAL DEFOLIANT KNOWN AS, "AGENT ORANGE" WHICH WAS USED EXTENSIVELY BY THE U.S. MILITARY IN VIETNAM TO DENY GROUND COVER TO ENEMY FORCES. SECOND VOICE FOR CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS, INC. IS A NONPROFIT PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION WHICH SEEKS TO BRING AWARENESS AND SUPPORT TO VETERANS AND FAMILIES OF VETERANS SUFFERING FROM THE EFFECTS OF AGENT ORANGE EXPOSURE AND SIMILARLY-RELATED ISSUES. (SOURCE: SECOND VOICE FOR CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS, INC.- WWW.SECONDVOICE.ORG)

ACCESSION GROUP

VIVE-00243

RECORD COPONENT QTY

6

ASSOCIATED ITEM TEXT

Text of the various inscriptions upon COMPONENTS (A & C) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENT (A), obverse object surface, printed text] "MAY 25, 2009 MEMORIAL DAY / Agent Orange Wreath / SECOND VOICE / second_voice@yahoo.com / We are the loved one's [sic] on a mission, fighting for our veteran's [sic], who served in the Vietnam War and for those who are now returning from the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War. / Our veterans survived the wars but acquired many diseases as a direct result of their service. / Vietnam War Veterans continue to suffer from the use of a chemical defoliant "AGENT ORANGE". / Many loved one's [sic] died without getting proper treatment or special recognition for their service. / Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are sharing a similar faith and recognition for their service. / We are the "second voice" for all veterans. / We will see that no veteran will be ignored or deny treatment and all receive recognition for their service. / "In memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service." / Second Voice welcomes families of veterans and supporters to join in the discussion on the internet. / As a group of concerned families of veterans and patriotic citizens we can help improve the lives of those who made sacrifices." / [COMPONENT (C), Sowinski memorial tag, obverse object surface, printed inscription] "Richard Sowinski / "In Memory" Thank You For Serving / U.S.M.C. Vietnam War 1969 - 70 / Silent Casualty * Dec. 10, 2003" / [COMPONENT (C), Pires memorial tag, obverse object surface, printed inscription] "Greg L. Pires / "In Memory" Thank You For Serving / U.S.M.C. Vietnam War 1968 - 69 / Silent Casualty * Nov. 3, 2008" / [COMPONENT (C), Miller memorial tag, obverse object surface, printed inscription] "Mike Miller / Thank You For Serving U.S. Army / Vietnam War Pleiku 1967-69 / Later died as a result of his service."

ITEM DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT

Item Weight: 4400.0g (Collective weight of COMPONENTS (A - C))
Item Depth: 60.0cm (Diameter) / 188.4cm (Circumference)