Vietnam Veterans gather in Marion for memorial - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Vietnam Veterans gather in Marion for memorial

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The Vietnam monument at the Marion VFW bears the names of 82-southern Illinois soldiers who died in the war. The Vietnam monument at the Marion VFW bears the names of 82-southern Illinois soldiers who died in the war.
"It's a great day," said U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran Pete Hesser. "It's a great day," said U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran Pete Hesser.
MARION, IL (KFVS) -

It's been a week of tears and hugs for many Veterans here in Southern Illinois.

Throughout the week Marion VA Medical Center employees and local veterans have read aloud the names of the more than 58,000 men killed in the Vietnam War.

And on Saturday afternoon during the Veterans's Reunion at the Marion VFW Post 1301, a final tribute was paid to the men who didn't come home from Vietnam.

Hundreds of Vietnam Veterans gathered to say a final goodbye and salute to their fallen brothers.

The highlight of the ceremony came when Vietnam Veteran Larry Stout removed the veil from the Vietnam Monument.

"It's been a long time coming. We've not been recognized enough," said Wayne Irvin U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran. " We're here to help all Veterans, and this helped us get through a lot of stuff. and I'm just glad to be home."

The names etched around the margins on the monument represent the 82 soldiers who died in Vietnam from Southern Illinois in Williamson, Franklin, Jackson, Union, Saline and Massac Counties.

"We went to school together, went to boot camp together. And we went our separate ways after boot camp," said Arnell Harvis U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran. " We remembered them and what happened to them. Some made it home some didn't. We feel bad about those who didn't. And we're glad they've been recognized finally."

More than a hundred and twenty Marion VA Medical Center employees took part in the Vietnam Memorial Ceremony. Each of them reading the names of the fallen soldiers for thirty minutes, through rain, lightening and thunder never stopping.

They read from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. from Monday through Friday, when the final 82 names of the Southern Illinois soldiers names were read.

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