Trunk of Unknown Hero

Veteran: Vietnamese Trunk
Artist: Larry Osborne
Writer: Joe Tantillo

What is known: During the war, young Vietnamese children would collect tin cans discarded by the American army and make them into souvenir trunks, like this one.

They would hand paint them and sell them along the road to soldiers.

The soldiers would use the trunks to keep their belongings in or would fill them with keepsakes and send them home to family.

What is unknown: Who did this trunk belong to? What did the soldier keep in his box of memories?

Were they reminders of happy times with friends? Or sad reminders of events he would never forget?

Fast-forward 10 to 15 years: Like many of us, Larry Osborne didn’t serve in Vietnam. So when he saw this trunk in an auction house around 1985, he bought it.

He convinced himself it would be a safe place to keep his treasures.

But now he knows this trunk was really his way of feeling connected to, and more appreciative of, all those guys who fought in Vietnam while the rest of us were safe at home.