40 Items Left at the Wall

In 2022 – we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Throughout the year, we’ll be highlighting lists of 40 things related to the Vietnam war/era.

Since the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) was dedicated in November 1982, more than 400,000 items have been left by visitors as remembrances and tributes. The National Park Service collects, catalogs, and preserves these objects as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial collection, with curatorial support over the years from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Click on the photo of each item to learn more about that item – including the full text to any letters associated with each item.

During The Wall’s 40 Anniversary, we look at 40 items left at The Wall:

  1. A care package that arrived in Vietnam a few days after Charles Stewart had been killed. The package was sent back to his mother. His best friend eventually brought it down to The Wall.

    See pictures and read stories about Charles Stewart on his Wall of Faces profile.

    A recreation of this care package can be found in the Mobile Education Center that travels with The Wall That Heals. Watch our Director of Education, Callie Wright, talk to students visiting The Wall That Heals about items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C.
    To learn more about The Wall That Heals, visit vvmf.org/the-wall-that-heals.
  2. A prosthetic leg: This leg worn by PFC Walter Scott Luce was brought to The Wall by his brother.

    Read more about this item and the story behind it.

    A recreation of this prostheitc leg can be found in the Mobile Education Center that travels with The Wall That Heals. Watch our Director of Education, Callie Wright, talk to students visiting The Wall That Heals about items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C.
    To learn more about The Wall That Heals, visit vvmf.org/the-wall-that-heals.
  3. Baby Sweater: This baby sweater was brought to The Wall by Donald Detmer’s mother and left with a note.

    See pictures and read stories about Donald Detmer on his Wall of Faces profile.

    A recreation of this sweater and letter can be found in the Mobile Education Center that travels with The Wall That Heals. Watch our Director of Education, Callie Wright, talk to students visiting The Wall That Heals about items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C.
    To learn more about The Wall That Heals, visit vvmf.org/the-wall-that-heals.
  4. Motorcycle: The largest item ever left at The Wall was a motorcycle. It was taken to the National Park Service facility that houses the Vietnam Memorial Collection and is still there today.

    Read more about this item and the story behind it.
  5. Mark Hoplin left this poem at The Wall in 1985.

  6. Toy Plane: This toy plane was left for Dan Bullock, the youngest service member on The Wall.
    See pictures and read stories about Dan Bullock on his Wall of Faces profile.
  7. Handwritten letter: This letter left at The Wall states “You are not forgotten” and is left with the message that when servicemembers return home from current conflict they are treated with “honor and acceptance”.
  8. POW/MIA Assemblage for MIA LTC Serex: An assemblage including a letter from LTC Henry Muir Serex’s wife Barbara Serex thanking all those who wore her husband’s bracelet.

    See pictures and read stories about LTC Henry Muir Serex on his Wall of Faces profile.
  9. Color Image/ Surgical Unit: An image captured and left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. While the note is anonymous it appears to have been left by an in-country nurse or medical officer.

  10. Richard A Mohr Family Picture: This picture, left for Richard A. Mohr, reminds us of how those who were lost too young are always remembered and loved by family.

    See pictures and read stories about Richard A Mohr on his Wall of Faces profile.
  11. Peter Pace Stars: These stars were left by General Peter Pace for his young LCPL Guido Farinaro.

    See pictures and read stories about LCPL Guido Farinaro on his Wall of Faces profile.

    A recreation of these stars can be found in the Mobile Education Center that travels with The Wall That Heals. To learn more about The Wall That Heals, visit vvmf.org/the-wall-that-heals.
  12. This image shows Bob Hope and Air Force Lt. Richard Russel posing together. Bob Hope provided countless performances throughout SE Asia. Russel would later become MIA.

    See pictures and read stories about Lt. Richard Russel on his Wall of Faces profile.
  13. Spanky Letter: A letter to William “Spanky” Reed Stocks left at The Wall by his mother, Eleanor Wimbish on Veterans Day in 1986.

    See pictures and read stories about William “Spanky” Reed Stocks on his Wall of Faces profile.
  14. Letter, Image, and Rubbing Kids and Grandkids: An assemblage left at The Wall for Navy PR1 Eureka Lavern Schmittou who remains MIA.

    See pictures and read stories about PR1 Eureka Lavern Schmittou on his Wall of Faces profile.
  15. Paintings: These two canvas paintings were left by Christopher M. Wagner in dedication to two Marines (JOHN P DELANEY IIIRONALD G CLINE) on The Wall.

    See pictures and read stories about John P Delaney III on his Wall of Faces profile.
    See pictures and read stories about Ronald G Cline on his Wall of Faces profile.
  16. Boots: These boots were left at The Wall with the name John R Painter affixed to them, however, the owners name appears on the inside. Their full story like many items left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is unknown.

    See pictures and read stories about John R Painter on his Wall of Faces profile.
  17. Draft Card: A Draft Card was left at The Wall presumably by its owner. Over two million men were drafted during the Vietnam War. The Draft ended in 1973.

    A recreation of a draft card can be found in the Mobile Education Center that travels with The Wall That Heals. Watch our Director of Education, Callie Wright, talk to students visiting The Wall That Heals about items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C.
    To learn more about The Wall That Heals, visit vvmf.org/the-wall-that-heals.
  18. A flag with letter/poem: An assemblage with a flag and a letter was at The Wall for John T Mcmahon. The letter contains a poem with the title “All Gave Some—Some Gave All”.

    See pictures and read stories about John T Mcmahon on his Wall of Faces profile.
  19. A Christmas Card from his son for Gary Gene Wright: This assemblage was left at The Wall by Gary Gene Wright.

    See pictures and read stories about Gary Gene Wright on his Wall of Faces profile.
  20. PLeiku Patch: This non-military issue patch was left at The Wall and tells a story with its wording and imagery.

  21. Handwritten Note: A handwritten note from one Vietnam veteran to another discussing how his sister had faithfully worn a POW/MIA bracelet of a man she had never met whose name is now on The Wall.

  22. Picture of Dog: This image and patch helps share the story of the more than 4,000 dogs and 10,000 handlers that were trained to fight in SE Asia.
  23. Comic Book and Note: This comic book references a friendship between “Doc” and “Ski”.
  24. Wind Chime, Lyons PTSD: Participants of the Lyons, NJ P.T.S.D. group left this item at The Wall in 1997.

  25. Toy Football: This item was left for Army SGT Michael Wayne Melvin.

    See pictures and read stories about SGT Michael Wayne Melvin on his Wall of Faces profile.
  26. POW Poster: This poster is one of many items left at The Wall for Air Force Col. Peter Joseph Stewart who went missing in 1966. In 2020 his remains were returned to his family.

    Read the story about Col. Stewart.
    See pictures and read stories about Col. Peter Joseph Stewart on his Wall of Faces profile.
  27. Sea Wolf Patch: This patch is for the US Navy Detachment Sea Wolves Fire Team.

    Read a story about a Navy Seawolf team here.
  28. Marine Panel: This picture was left for Michael Ray Peddle, whose name is on The Wall, and was drawn by him before he left for Vietnam. It was left by his brother Gene Peddle with the assurance that “his legacy is being kept alive by the family”.

    See pictures and read stories about Michael Ray Peddle on his Wall of Faces profile.
  29. Haddonfield Collage: This assemblage was left by a high school student who did not hold a personal connection to the Vietnam War. However, she left this poem to let service men and women know that they all deserved a comfort she had known in her life.

  30. Note from Daughter to her father and picture: A daughter leaves a card and a poem for her father.

  31. Wreath and Poem: Wreath left for US Army SGT William Clark Airlie and US Army SP4 Billy Ray Parker was left with a poem that explores the concepts of sacrifice and freedom.

    See pictures and read stories about SGT William Clark Airlie on his Wall of Faces profile.
    See pictures and read stories about SP4 Billy Ray Parker on his Wall of Faces profile.
  32. Beer Buddies: This color image shows four young men sharing a beer together-emphasizing the youth and friendship among those who served.

  33. For the nurses: Robert E. Hornocker left this painting at The Wall in dedication to the thousands of nurses who served in the Vietnam War.

  34. Love Letter: A love letter left at The Wall for Edward Curtis Mchenry.

    See pictures and read stories about Edward Curtis Mchenry on his Wall of Faces profile.
  35. Agent Orange Collage: An assemblage left for Benny Persichili who died after the war of causes related to Agent Orange.

  36. Motorcycle Jacket: A motorcycle jacket left at The Wall with patches highlighting POW/MIA issues and Agent Orange awareness.

  37. Torn Draft Card: A torn up draft card left at The Wall. During the Vietnam War President Johnson signed a law making it a federal crime to destroy your draft card.

  38. Framed Helicopter and Note: A note and picture left for Robert Oren Hill Jr.

    See pictures and read stories about Robert Oren Hill Jr on his Wall of Faces profile.
  39. A box: An entire box left behind for Robert Phillip Levin.

    See pictures and read stories about Robert Phillip Levin on his Wall of Faces profile.
  40. Boots: Boots left behind by a Marine veteran explaining how those who served in Vietnam paved the way for better treatment for all future veterans.

    A recreation of these boots and letter can be found in the Mobile Education Center that travels with The Wall That Heals. Watch our Director of Education, Callie Wright, talk to students visiting The Wall That Heals about items representative of those left at The Wall in Washington, D.C.
    To learn more about The Wall That Heals, visit vvmf.org/the-wall-that-heals.

To see more items go to vvmf.org/items.