ARCHIVAL VIDEO: Memorial Day 1986: Veterans and Non-Veterans Pay Tribute to Vietnam War Memorial

May 26, 1986: A "Nightline" profile of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
6:07 | 05/26/16

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Transcript for ARCHIVAL VIDEO: Memorial Day 1986: Veterans and Non-Veterans Pay Tribute to Vietnam War Memorial
Reporting from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. Ted Koppel and. It's so deceptively subtle piece of work where the alpha and the Omega the beginning. And the end meet in the middle where the wings of the V come together. Refers to die and the last and I join. There are so many names so neatly and sort tightly packed together that initially they blur the senses. Until recognition snaps one name or another under sharp focus. The shiny quality of the stone enables you to see yourself on the wall and the names on yourself. The wall requires visitors without them there is no dialogue on this memorial is designed for communication. The wall speaks to the living. And the living and talked of a dead. Sometimes they'd leave messages. If it's remembrances. Offerings. This far is that it just confined to 1000 keep Iran invites you to come to it. To sit at her to pray and a two week Bennett to touch it if he can and. Maybe you leave something behind. The first thing that was ever left here coincidentally was a purple heart is awarded to the brother of the navy pilot. And they both flew together in Vietnam off of carriers and the pilot was killed and he actually put the purple heart. Inside the concrete that was being porridge for the back of the memorial. We look for some of the people who have left things here because they leave more than objects this has also become a place for depositing emotion. From Nancy Mo hole that Minneapolis it was both anger and pain. I decided to write the letter I guess because. My brother again sick. And I thought that. I thought that my brother deserve some kind of benefits for his illness. Because he's he's got a cancer is that was caused from Agent Orange. Mr. and mrs. McDermott of Nashville left their son's favorite Teddy bear and a picture of his race car at the wall. Under his name. I know how much unite them and I was just glad to get taken during any month than. I'm glad to have a picture that I had of his coma so that I could isn't. Because he is loved him in Britain. Seventeen year old Christie came among guards have independence Kansas wrote a porn to her father. And headed left. At the war. Because I didn't and I never got a chance to me and this you know what was Eli you know silly things that I can U I NN this. Things about him that I never in a bad chance. Michael Markey. But Vietnam veteran from Texas. He puts a lot of his thoughts about the war into song. He was doing just that a week ago and moved through Texas. One of those names on the wall has a particular meaning for Michael mark. I was on point. Over the booby trap he did. And it blew the man. First on which the wall and found his name and on. I lead to make some sort of statement there's almost a copy of Herman you know I just wanted to let you know the number used to sing and still thinking about him. Jan Scruggs had the original idea of the green really. For a memorial to Vietnam veterans we never really moved. That it was going to do this. That people were going to be leaving. Letters and boots and articles of clothing that belonged servicemen would guide. Even a Teddy bears things like that. Trying to keep the notes keeping an eye out for those things that a left is the job of the park Rangers and volunteers. Park ranger Steve Alomar is himself a Vietnam veteran. When I was leverage over just why we're talking because it wasn't. Wasn't here earlier today when cancer has passed over religious medal of cents a a measure when there were. Memorial was to return him and no now. Yes K things like them. Good luck charm and good morning. We're all afraid early and me memorial experience that. The articles which is being stolen. And would never be seen again so. Never underestimate the government. They came along and realized the validity in the value. Of what was going on. And that. Governmental vision of the value keeps Alomar busy every four to six weeks or so he walks over to the lockers just to the right there where mr. Lincoln sits. To collect the memories and anger and sorrow that has been left behind. Some guy with his family's. For a funeral was and kids who never known. Live family of new thing the board. Most visitors perhaps are drawn by the names of the 58132. Men and women. In many cases people have taken to leaving things. For some of its eleven go for others thank you or an apology. But whatever the reasons the boxes of memories and the record of where and when each one was found that the wall. Are taken dole land a Maryland about forty minutes from here to a park service storage facility.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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