Offerings at the Wall Artifacts from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection
Turner Publishing, Inc., 288 pages .
As soon as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was completed, people began leaving small objects there, and the National Park Service quietly began saving them in a Maryland warehouse. The collection, which now comprises tens of thousands of artifacts, is not open to the public; this book is the best view most of us will have of what is in it. Nobody making one of these offerings—a scribbled note, a worn baseball glove, a package of Kool-Aid and homemade cookies, a framed sonogram snapshot of a first grandchild—expected that it would be preserved or exhibited; each object represents an intensely private message to one of the names etched into the black granite. In this almost wordless book the most eloquent of these objects have been lovingly photographed and placed on the page, heartbreaking testament to war’s legacy of grief and loss, and to the Wall’s strange power to bring together the living and the dead.