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Remembering Vietnam My War Story - Bill Nelson
My War Story - Marsh Carter
My War Story - Nancy Sinatra
My War Story - Sen. Chuck Hagel
My War Story - Ron Nessen
- Planned Giving
Much like the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the offerings left daily along the base of the black granite walls have become a key component to this popular memorial in the nation's capital.
The phenomenon of leaving items at The Wall is believed to have begun in 1982, when someone placed a Purple Heart in the concrete being poured during the Memorial's initial construction.
Since that time, the public has continued to leave objects at The Wall—and not just the traditional items left at other war memorials, such as flowers and flags. Military objects that are customarily handed down from generation to generation, such as medals, uniforms and dog tags, have been placed at the Memorial, as well as teddy bears, poems, pictures, birthday cards, cigarettes and even a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
In 1984, the National Park Service began collecting the items. Every night, park rangers collect and inventory each item. The objects, which now number more than 150,000, are stored at the Museum Resource Center in suburban Maryland.
In October 1992, an exhibit opened at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., which put more than 1,500 objects from The Wall on display to the public for the first time. The exhibit was extremely popular. Other exhibits around the world also have showcased items from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection.
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