Since the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1982, countless offerings have been left at "The Wall" in memory of the more than fifty-eight thousand soldiers whose names are engraved on its surface. The National Park Service, which collects and preserves these mementos, loaned many of them to the Smithsonian in 1992 for an exhibition marking the memorial's tenth anniversary.
Vietnam vets are the only group of combat veterans in the history of the US who returned home only to be shunned, and dubbed "baby killers". 2,709,918 men and women served in uniform during the Vietnam War. Of these, 58,260 were killed in Vietnam, while another 304,000 were wounded. According to these statistics, 1 out of 10 Americans who served were casualties of the Vietnam War. Americans, many too young to remember, need to learn the truth about Vietnam, and in turn, honor these people.