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Vietnam veterans talk about their emotions seeing the memorial wall in San Angelo.

The replica memorial has since left; memories and emotions of the war remain.

San Angelo, TX - The Wall That Heals, honoring more than 58,000 Vietnam veterans who sacrificed their lives in the war, has come and gone.

The replica of the memorial in Washington D.C. stood in San Angelo for about five days, bringing back memories for those who served during that time.

Some memories were about comradery and the lighter moments of a dark scene in Vietnam, which left scars on the combatants involved in it.

For Americans returning home, it also led to a battle right when they stepped foot on American soil.

"In those days you go out the front gate at Travis and there were people with signs and throwing stuff at you," says Ed Bendinelli.

Bendinelli described the scene as "terrible...bad."

For other Vietnam vets, there was a sense of pride involved, however.

"I was told not to wear my uniform. I didn't believe that, I wore my uniform and I was proud to," explains Ray Favre. "I wasn't going to let any individual tell me otherwise."

In 2012, then President Barack Obama kicked off a 13 year project to mark the anniversary of the Vietnam war.

It would consist of a series of ceremonies honoring those whose lives were lost in the war and would honor those who served. Similar to the numerous pinning ceremonies held across the United States.

One pinning ceremony taking place in San Angelo over the weekend had the replica memorial wall as the backdrop of the event.

"It feels good for someone to come up and shake your hand and say 'welcome home,'" says Perry Stevens, who in Part 1 of this series talked openly about his time in Vietnam.

The exhibit stood in San Angelo to educate the Concho Valley youth about Vietnam veterans.

Though organizers say it was hard to explain the emotions behind the more than 58,000 names on the wall.

Despite the emotion and despite the mistreatment of these Vietnam soldiers when they came back from the war, these soldiers will tell you now they would never hesitate to go to war for their country if they were able to turn back the clock.

"You are built up in the military that you are protecting your country and your family," explains Robert Holtz, he and his nephew served in Vietnam. His nephew was killed in action while in battle during the war. "It's an honor to be able to protect your family in this way. It truly is."

And although the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall stood in San Angelo temporarily, the memories of the people whose names are etched on those walls will live on forever.

Part 1 of this 2 part series can be found at this link


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