From the collection of the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks.
Handwritten narrative. The narrative is entitled, "The Garden Quad", is signed, "Good-bye forever", bears the date of composition, "8/29/82" & the date of donation at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM), "5-14-83", and opens with a notation from the author reading, "Note: I wrote this just prior to my hospitalization". In content, the narrative provides a graphic description of the author's struggle to overcome the trauma of his experience fourteen (14) years after his return home from serving in Vietnam and his ongoing battle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-related symptoms. Specifically, the author references a garden quad that he designates, "LZ Dustoff" and states that, "Out beyond this life giving, life taking track of land lay the paddies I track through when I dare myself to adventure forth and seek out the nightmares calling." In a postscript dated, "5-14-83" the author states his belief that, "I think this sheet belongs in DC" while noting that, "I never officially entered it in my journal because I don't want a permanent record of this experience." He then closes his narrative by explaining his rationale for leaving the various associated items at The Wall in the lines, "I feel it best left here at this site of memorialization for me! / It is also best that I leave with my pictures because I don't want to relive any more flashbacks, horror, emotional upheaval due to my past experiences in Viet - Nam. / Fifteen years is quite enough." The artifact was left at The Wall along with four (4) black & white photographic prints (VIVE (465, 472, 530, & 541)) by an anonymous Vietnam veteran at 1:45 p.m. on May 14, 1983.
HANDWRITTEN NARRATIVE. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A NARRATIVE HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, LINED, SPIRAL NOTEBOOK PAPER. THE NARRATIVE IS ENTITLED, "THE GARDEN QUAD", IS SIGNED, "GOOD-BYE FOREVER", BEARS THE DATE OF COMPOSITION, "8/29/82" & THE DATE OF DONATION AT THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM), "5-14-83", AND OPENS WITH A NOTATION FROM THE AUTHOR READING, "NOTE: I WROTE THIS JUST PRIOR TO MY HOSPITALIZATION." IN CONTENT, THE NARRATIVE PROVIDES A GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE AUTHOR'S STRUGGLE TO OVERCOME THE TRAUMA OF HIS EXPERIENCE FOURTEEN (14) YEARS AFTER HIS RETURN HOME FROM SERVING IN VIETNAM AND HIS ONGOING BATTLE WITH POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS (PTSD)-RELATED SYMPTOMS. SPECIFICALLY, THE AUTHOR REFERENCES A GARDEN QUAD THAT HE DESIGNATES, "LZ DUSTOFF" AND STATES THAT, "OUT BEYOND THIS LIFE GIVING, LIFE TAKING TRACK OF LAND LAY THE PADDIES I TRACK THROUGH WHEN I DARE MYSELF TO ADVENTURE FORTH AND SEEK OUT THE NIGHTMARES CALLING." HE GOES ON TO RELATE THE EXPERIENCE OF A FLASHBACK AND THE RECOVERY OF HIS PRESENCE OF MIND IN THE LINES, "I'VE BEGUN MY DIKE TO KEEP OUT THE WATERS FROM CORRODING MY QUAD [...] AS QUICKLY AS IT ALL CAME BACK TO ME I CAUGHT A FRESH BREATH OF AIR THAT DID NOT STINK OF ROTTEN FLESH AND I QUICKLY CAME BACK TO MY SENSES [...] I REALIZED IT WAS MY REVISIT [?] TO THE PAST OF WHICH I SHOULD BE ACCUSTOMED TO BY NOW. / AFTER ALL IT'S BEEN 14 YEARS." THE AUTHOR EXPRESSES HIS INCREDULITY AT THE ADVICE OF THOSE AROUND HIM WITH RESPECT TO HIS PTSD SYMPTOMS BY RECOUNTING THAT, "EVERYONE TELLS ME ITS [sic] OK. / I SHOULDN'T LET IT GET TO ME!!!! / HA HA." HE THEN PROCEEDS TO DESCRIBE HIMSELF, "[...] TAKING GREAT DELIGHT IN PRACTICING BAYONET THRUSTS AT IMAGINARY ENEMIES", BUT EXPRESSES REGRET THAT, "CHRIS, MY SON WAS SHOCKED AT MY FEROCITY, WHEN I SNAPPED OUT OF IT I REALIZED HOW COULD HE POSSIBLY COMPREHEND THIS. / I FELT GUILTY FOR SHOWING HIM THIS MADNESS." IN A POSTSCRIPT DATED, "5-14-83" THE AUTHOR STATES HIS BELIEF THAT, "I THINK THIS SHEET BELONGS IN DC" NOTING THAT, "I NEVER OFFICIALLY ENTERED IT IN MY JOURNAL BECAUSE I DON'T WANT A PERMANENT RECORD OF THIS EXPERIENCE." HE CLOSES HIS NARRATIVE BY DISCUSSING HIS MOTIVATION FOR LEAVING THE ITEM AT THE WALL, ALONG WITH SEVERAL ASSOCIATED PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS, IN THE LINES, "I FEEL IT BEST LEFT HERE AT THIS SITE OF MEMORIALIZATION FOR ME! [...] I DON'T WANT TO RELIVE ANY MORE FLASHBACKS, HORROR, EMOTIONAL UPHEAVAL DUE TO MY PAST EXPERIENCES IN VIET - NAM. / FIFTEEN YEARS IS QUITE ENOUGH." ACCORDING TO VIVE CATALOG NOTES PREPARED BY MRCE COLLECTIONS STAFF, AN NPS RANGER'S NOTE COMPOSED UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SEGMENT OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER AND ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED AFFIXED TO THE HANDWRITTEN NARRATIVE VIA A SEGMENT OF ADHESIVE SCOTCH TAPE SPECIFIED THE DATE/TIME OF DONATION AT THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) AND READ, "THIS WAS FOUND AT THE MEMORIAL / 1:45 - 5/14/83". THE OBJECT IS ASSOCIATED WITH VIVE (465, 472, 530, & 541).
Text of the handwritten inscriptions upon the obverse and reverse object surfaces is transcribed in full, as follows: [Obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "8/29/82 / Note: I wrote this just prior to my hospitalization. / The Garden Quad / The mist from the early spring shower hovered a few feet off the ground. / Its wetness chilled my legs as [illegible] to my favorite quad, called LZ Dustoff. / The quiet rang out its stillness to me and I got tight in the chest as I always do when it's so quiet. / The remnants of last years [sic] vegetation clung to its [illegible] earth carpet, not willing to give in to another termination. / Out beyond this life giving, life taking track of land lay the paddies I track through when I dare myself to adventure forth and seek out the nightmares calling. / I've begun my dike to keep out the waters from corroding my quad. / I have begun my truth [?] hedge. / As quickly as it all came back to me I caught a fresh breath of air that did not stink of rotten flesh and I quickly came back to my senses. / My brow and upper lip glistened of sweat, but I realized it was my revisit [?] to the past of which I should be accustomed to by now. / After all it's been 14 years. / Everyone tells me its [sic] ok. / I shouldn't let it get to me!!!! / Ha Ha. / I found myself taking great delight in practicing bayonet thrusts at imaginary enemies. / Chris, my son was shocked at my ferocity, when I snapped out of it I realized how could he possibly comprehend this. / I felt guilty for showing him this madness. / My next door neighbor looked over at me just as I was kicking out the blade from Le Van Thiens [?] chest. / I paused when I saw him, [...]" / [Reverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "[...] but did not feel as guilty, because he knows, he's been in W.W.II, he knows! / 5-14-83 / I think this sheet belongs in DC. / I never officially entered it in my journal because I don't want a permanent record of this experience. / I feel it best left here at this site of memorialization for me! / It is also best that I leave with my pictures because I don't want to relive any more flashbacks, horror, emotional upheaval due to my past experiences in Viet - Nam. / Fifteen years is quite enough. / Good-bye forever"
Item Weight: 3.7g
Item Length: 25.5cm
Item Width: 20.0cm