I saw something while watching TV the other night about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, better know as The Wall. Items are routinely left at the wall to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers. What I didn’t realize was all of the items left are collected and catalogued and saved.
According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), more than 400,000 items have been left by visitors. It is the job of the National Park Service to preserve the tributes gathered as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial collection.
The Memorial Fund’s website allows you to preview a small portion of the objects cataloged since The Wall was dedicated in November 1982. Efforts are underway to fund and build an Education Center where a larger number of items can be displayed to the public.
Also available online at VVMF is The Virtual Wall of Faces. It features a page for every person whose name is on the Memorial. These pages allow family and friends to share memories, post pictures and connect with each other. For visitors it will put a face to every one of the 58,300 names listed on the Wall. Karen Cucurullo, acting superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks says, “As custodians of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, the National Park Service is proud to partner with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to make this remarkable collection available online and tell the stories not only of the men and women who served and made the ultimate sacrifice, but those they left behind.”
Not everyone can visit The Wall in Washington, DC in person, but online you can share in the experience. Even from a distance it is very moving. If you’re in the DC area May 30, seating for the Annual Memorial Day Observance at The Wall is still available.
This Memorial Day, think about paying your respects, either virtually or in person, and visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.