The National Park Service entered into an agreement with Turner Publishing, Inc. to develop a book based on the collection associated with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This book contains a short section on the effect that the Memorial has on the public and the subsequent start of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection. It contains over 200 photographs of objects from the collection. There are now over 50,000 objects which have been left at the Memorial by the public since 1982 when the Memorial construction was started. This project was important to the curators of this collection as it allowed many in the public to see these objects for the first time.
For twenty-two years I have carried your picture in my wallet. I was only eighteen years old that day that we faced one another on that trail in Chu Lai, Vietnam. Why you didn't take my life I'll never know. You stared at me for so long, armed with your AK-47, and yet you did not fire. Forgive me for taking your life, I was reacting just the way I was trained, to kill V.C.... Each time my heart and guts would burn with the pain of guilt. I have two daughters myself now.... I perceive you as a brave soldier defending his homeland. Above all else, I can now respect the importance that life held for you. I suppose that this is why I am able to here today.... It is time for me to continue the life process and release my pain and guilt.
Forgive me, Sir.
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