From the collection of the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks.
Canteen. A handwritten inscription upon the exterior surface of the canteen is addressed to, "Rick", is signed, "Fredrick W. Pepper / USN / 1969 - 1973", and indicates that it was left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (VVM) during the occasion of a, "MARCHE [sic] ON DC. 95 / FOR OUR HERO'S [sic]." An excerpt of the inscription reads, "When you should have been worried about your next date you died [...] I was spared. / You were not. / Today I marche [sic] to fight a different war. / One to save those who our country has abandoned [...] I will never forget you or them." The artifact was left at The Wall by U.S. Navy and Vietnam veteran Fredrick W. Pepper during a March on Washington, D.C. between September - November 1995.
CANTEEN. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A CANTEEN COMPRISED OF A CIRCULARLY SHAPED, SHEET METAL HOOP CIRCUMSCRIBING THE CIRCUMFERENTIAL EDGE OF A CIRCULARLY SHAPED, FLAT SIDED DRINKING VESSEL COMPRISED OF WHITE POLY-PLASTIC WITH A CYLINDRICALLY SHAPED OPENING TRAVERSING THE CENTER. THE POLY-PLASTIC DRINKING VESSEL BEARS A CIRCULARLY SHAPED, SCREW TOP OPENING FITTED WITH A BLACK POLY-PLASTIC SCREW CAP AT THE UPPER OBJECT SURFACE, WHICH ITSELF IS CONNECTED TO THE SHEET METAL HOOP VIA A SHORT LENGTH OF METAL LINK CHAIN AND TWO (2) METAL (POSSIBLY STEEL [?]) BRADS. NUMEROUS OVOID-SHAPED METAL LOOPS ARE EMBEDDED AT REGULAR INTERVALS INTO THE EXTERIOR SURFACE OF THE CIRCUMFERENTIAL METAL HOOP,THROUGH WHICH IS PRESENTLY STRUNG A CARRYING STRAP COMPRISED OF YELLOW, BLACK, & GRAY STRIPED NYLON FABRIC AFFIXED AT THE ENDS INTO A COMPLETE LOOP VIA FOUR (4) METAL BRADS. A CONTINUOUS FABRIC REMNANT (INCLUDING VISIBLE STITCHING) OF THE CLOTH COVERING WHICH PREVIOUSLY ADORNED THE EXTERIOR SURFACES OF THE POLY-PLASTIC DRINKING VESSEL IS VISIBLE IN THE SPACE BETWEEN THE WHITE POLY-PLASTIC AND THE CIRCUMFERENTIAL METAL HOOP AT BOTH THE OBVERSE AND REVERSE OBJECT SURFACES. AN INSCRIPTION IS HANDWRITTEN UPON THE WHITE POLY-PLASTIC IN BLACK MARKER AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS AT BOTH THE OBVERSE AND REVERSE OBJECT SURFACES OF THE CANTEEN. THE INSCRIPTION IS ADDRESSED TO, "RICK", IS SIGNED, "FREDRICK W. PEPPER / USN / 1969 - 1973", AND INDICATES THAT THE ITEM WAS LEFT AT THE VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL (VVM) ON THE OCCASION OF THE, "MARCHE [sic] ON DC. 95 / FOR OUR HERO'S [sic]". IN CONTENT, THE AUTHOR OF THE INSCRIPTION DESCRIBES THE ORIGIN OF THE CANTEEN; I.E. "IT WAS GIVEN TO ME BY A GUY WHO WAS IN THE AIR CAV" AND NOTES THAT, "I KNOW NOW I WOULDN'T HAVE MADE IT WITHOUT IT." THE AUTHOR PROCEEDS TO RECALL DRINKING WINE WITH RICK AT A HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR BREAKFAST AND CHOOSING TO JOIN THE NAVY INSTEAD OF THE MARINES WHEN THE TWO (2) MEN ENLISTED, AS A CONSEQUENCE OF A PEACE PROTEST OUTSIDE THE MILITARY RECRUITMENT CENTER. THE AUTHOR OF THE INSCRIPTION GOES ON TO STATE THAT, "I WAS SPARED. / YOU WERE NOT" AND NOTES THAT THE HE HAS LEFT THE ITEM AT THE WALL AS PART OF A MARCH ON WASHINGTON, D.C., "[...] TO SAVE THOSE WHO OUR COUNTRY HAS ABANDONED." THE INSCRIPTION CLOSES WITH THE LINES, "MY PROMICE [sic] IS TO DO MY BEST JUST LIKE YOU. / I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU OR THEM." ACCORDING TO VIVE CATALOG NOTES PREPARED BY MRCE COLLECTIONS STAFF, THE OBJECT WAS PREVIOUSLY DISPLAYED IN THE COLORADO HISTORIC SOCIETY LOAN EXHIBITION (1997 - 1998), AS WELL AS THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (VA), HOUSTON, TEXAS LOAN EXHIBITION (VVM98).
Text of the handwritten inscription upon the exterior, obverse and reverse object surfaces is transcribed in full, as follows: [Exterior, obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "Rick / I've [illegible] this from just outside Kelso, Washington / It was given to me by a guy who was in the Air Cav. / He made me take it. / I know now I wouldn't have made it without it. / I remember the senior breakfast. / You & I drank whine [sic]. / When you should have been worried about your next date you died. / Remember when we went to the recruiter & there was a peace protest so I joined the Navy instead of the Marines?" / [Exterior, reverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "I was spared. / You were not. / Today I marche [sic] to fight a different war. / One to save those who our country has abandoned. / My promice [sic] is to do my best just like you. / I will never forget you or them. / Fredrick W. Pepper / USN / 1969 - 1973 / MARCHE [sic] ON DC. 95 / FOR OUR HERO'S [sic]."
Item Weight: 650.0g
Item Depth: 10.0cm (Thickness) / 24.0cm (Diameter) / 75.4cm (Circumference)