“Nobody knows me in this town,” he said when called to podium. “I left when I was 18 years old to go into the Army. I didn't return until I was old. I saw all my nieces and nephews and I didn't even know them. I appreciate all the DAV out here, all the folks in uniform.
“I don't know what to say. Antonio was my brother. I don't know anything about him. This is my family I don't even know them. I lost them somewhere. They said I needed to come back around here and find out where I lost them at. … I appreciate all of your concerns.”
His were the words and emotions a visitor to the museum often sees and hears.
Local Disabled American Veteran Commander Lewis Logan, veteran of the Navy Seabees, evoked similar emotions. Sunday was his first day to walk along the wall's path, touching the names of those he knew and were killed.
“For a while I didn't want to participate in anything like this because it was hard on me,” Logan said. “I saw too many of my buddies get killed in Vietnam. I got injured myself. But the more I thought about it the more it seemed to me I need to get involved in this (museum) situation and think about the guy who is over there on that wall. I'm just sorry for anybody who didn't make it back from Vietnam. There were a lot of them who didn't make it back from Vietnam. I just thank the good Lord today that I made it back alive.”
Retired Army Sgt. Major Hayward Bellah recalled entering the service in 1968 with three high school classmates. “Three of us went to Vietnam and two of us came back,” he said. “I had a lot to learn. I guess I learned something because I made it back.”