The Washington Times - May 14, 2009, 10:23AM


Here is a link to a short piece written roughly fifteen years ago, by the curator for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — the man who collected and stored the mementos left by visitors.  His story appears in the   website, and his descriptions of the kind of things people left in memory of their loved ones and friends is just as meaningful today as it was over a decade ago.

For example, here are just three of his comments:

“An M16 rifle clip was left by a Vietnam veteran who was once given the assignment of salvaging combat gear from soldiers killed in action. As he removed the clip from one body, he found himself staring into the sightless eyes of a friend.   …

A set of wedding rings was left for a soldier who had gotten married before going off to war. His best friend brought them to the memorial because it is “where his spirit now resides.    …

For a long time I wondered about the two tins of sardines left at the wall. Then a veteran’s letter explained: His buddy had taken a carton of cigarettes from him and left the sardines. Later that day the buddy was killed, and now the donor was returning this much-cherished prize.”