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

assemblage

CATALOG NUMBER

VIVE 34758

ACCESSION DATE

03/21/1991

ITEM SUMMARY

Artifact assemblage consisting of a handwritten letter and accompanying envelope. A handwritten inscription upon the envelope indicates that the letter was penned during participation in the, "P.T.S.D. Program Coatsville [sic] PA V.A.M.C." The letter is headed, "Changes", is signed, "Fred Broaddus [signature] / 71st EVAC. HOSP. (PLEIKU) / 1968-69 / FEB.", is dated, "2-5-91", and opens with the line, "My life has been so totaly [sic] disrupted since I went to Viet Nam." In content, the letter represents the cathartic personal statement and memoir of a Vietnam veteran and participant in the Coatesville, Pennsylvania P.T.S.D. Program. Mr. Broaddus sums up his view of the federal government and their treatment of him by characterizing his experience as one of being, "Mistreated for their own gain, to turn me into their idea of a man. / To learn how to kill, and hate other people [...]", and closes his letter with the lines, "I hate the war, and the Government for letting this happen to me. / Now to try, and get on with my life". The artifact assemblage was left at The Wall by Vietnam veteran Fred Broaddus on February 5, 1991.

ITEM DESCRIPTION

ASSEMBLAGE CONSISTING OF: COMPONENT (A) HANDWRITTEN LETTER AND COMPONENT (B) HANDWRITTEN ENVELOPE. COMPONENT (A) HANDWRITTEN LETTER. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A TWO (2) PAGE LETTER HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON TWO (2) RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEETS OF YELLOW, LINED, LEGAL PAD PAPER. THE LETTER IS HEADED, "CHANGES", IS SIGNED, "FRED BROADDUS / 71ST EVAC. HOSP. (PLEIKU) / 1968-69 / FEB.", IS DATED, "2-5-91", AND OPENS WITH THE LINE, "MY LIFE HAS BEEN SO TOTALY [sic] DISRUPTED SINCE I WENT TO VIET NAM." IN CONTENT, THE LETTER REPRESENTS THE CATHARTIC PERSONAL STATEMENT AND MEMOIR OF A VIETNAM VETERAN AND PARTICIPANT IN THE, "PTSD PROGRAM / COATSVILLE [sic] PA". MR. BROADDUS OPENS HIS LETTER BY EXPRESSING HIS DESIRE TO LASH OUT EMOTIONALLY AT SOCIETY AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT; SUMMING UP HIS FEELINGS TOWARDS THE FEDERAL AUTHORITY IN THE LINES, "MISTREATED FOR THEIR OWN GAIN, TO TURN ME INTO THEIR IDEA OF A MAN. / TO LEARN HOW TO KILL, AND HATE OTHER PEOPLE [...]" THE AUTHOR THEN SPEAKS OF HIS LOST INNOCENCE AND THE IMPERATIVE OF, "AGE[ING] FAST" IN A WAR ZONE, WHILE STILL ACKNOWLEDGING THAT, "THEIR [sic] WERE TWO YOUND [sic] GIRLS WHOSE LAFTER [sic] MADE THE WAR DISAPPEAR FOR SHORT PERIODS OF TIME" WITH WHOM HE WAS ACQUAINTED ON THE COMPOUND WHERE HE WAS STATIONED. MR. BROADDUS GOES ON TO NOTE THAT SPENDING TIME WITH THESE YOUNG WOMEN MADE HIM FEEL LESS TIRED AND AFRAID, AND DESCRIBES THEIR DEMISE BY RECALLING THAT, "THE WAR TOOK THEIR LIFE [sic], AND FAMILEYS [sic] LIFE IN FRONT OF ME AS I STOOD WATCHING, AND COULD NOT DO ANYTHING TO STOP IT." HE THEN CHARACTERIZES THE EFFECT OF THESE DEATHS UPON HIS PSYCHE BY STATING THAT, "ALL YOUTH WAS SHATTERED; MY FEAR, HATE, AND ANGER WERE BORN TO THEIR FULLNESS!" HE THEN CLOSES HIS LETTER WITH THE LINES, "I HATE THE WAR, AND THE GOVERNMENT FOR LETTING THIS HAPPEN TO ME. / NOW TO TRY, AND GET ON WITH MY LIFE". COMPONENT (A) WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED FOLDED INTO FOURTHS (1/4) AND HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (B). COMPONENT (B) HANDWRITTEN ENVELOPE. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED ENVELOPE COMPRISED OF PLAIN WHITE PAPER WITH A TRIANGULARLY SHAPED, ADHESIVE CLOSURE FLAP AT THE REVERSE OBJECT SURFACE. AN INSCRIPTION HANDWRITTEN IN BLUE INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS ALONG THE LOWER EDGE OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE READS, "2-5-91 / P.T.S.D. PROGRAM COATSVILLE [sic], PA V.A.M.C." COMPONENT (A) WAS ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED FOLDED INTO FOURTHS (1/4) AND HOUSED INSIDE COMPONENT (B).

ACCESSION GROUP

VIVE-00081

RECORD COPONENT QTY

3

ASSOCIATED ITEM TEXT

Text of the handwritten inscriptions upon COMPONENTS (A & B) is transcribed in full, as follows: [COMPONENT (A), page 1, obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "Changes / 2-5-91 / My life has been so totaly [sic] disrupted since I went to Viet Nam. / I feel like lashing out at everyone. / Sometimes its [sic] society; but most of the time its [sic] the Government. / Because of the way they used me to fight their war. / Mistreated for their own gain, to turn me into their idea of a man. / To learn how to kill, and hate other people who live on this earth in the name of war. / I was 18 years old, and ready for anything. / But seeing death all around me every day made me lose my inocence [sic], and freedom of being a youth. / I aged fast. / I found some fun, and inocence [sic] in myself on that compound of life, and death. / Their [sic] were two yound [sic] girls whose lafter [sic] made the war disappear for short periods of time." / [COMPONENT (A), page 2, obverse object surface, handwritten inscriptions] "2-5-91 / And made me feel some sanity was around us. / I didn't feel as tired, and afraid around them. / These people were happy, and free in spirit. / The war took their life [sic], and famileys [sic] life [sic] in front of me as I stood watching, and could not do anything to stop it. / I felt nothing and everything all at once. / I was numb. / All youth was shattered; my fear, hate, and anger were born to their fullness! / I hate the war, and the Government for letting this happen to me. / Now to try, and get on with my life; / PTSD Program / Coatsville [sic] PA. / 2-5-91 / Fred Broaddus [signature] / 71st EVAC. HOSP. (PLEIKU) / 1968-69 / FEB." / [COMPONENT (B), obverse object surface, handwritten inscription] "2-5-91 / P.T.S.D. Program Coatsville [sic] PA V.A.M.C."

ITEM DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT

Item Weight: 4.3g (Weight of COMPONENT (A) only)
Item Length: 27.5cm
Item Width: 21.4g