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Moving wall returns

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May 4, 2006

Albany -- "The Moving Wall" has toured the country for more than 20 years, last stopping in Albany in 1988. Today, about 20 volunteers -- mostly war veterans -- helped construct the memorial wall in downtown Albany.

And even though the Vietnam War ended more than 30 years ago, the memorial still stirs plenty of memories for veterans and their families.

Veterans constructed "The Moving Wall" piece by piece, driving in stakes and lifting panels into place. They volunteered today because they served decades ago with the very people who's names cover this Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.

Vietnam Veteran Marcus Flannigan said, "If it doesn't move you, something is wrong with you. I have friends names on this wall that I served with."

"His name is Jackie D. Glenn. He was my next-door neighbor at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines," said Vietnam Veteran Vaughn Reid.

Reid remembers a friend, one of a staggering 58,228 people who died in the Vietnam War. They came from across the country and from here in Albany -- like Everett Herren, Sidney Jarrell and Robert Barnes. "It's heart-breaking. Anyone's death makes you sad," said Reid.

But the death of someone close is even harder. Soloman Griffin finds the name of his younger brother Carlton. Solomon was packing to go to Vietnam himself, when he heard Carlton had died. "I got back in the barracks, the Red Cross called and said there was bad news. My brother. It will be forty years in September."

Forty years, but the pain is still fresh for him and for many other veterans and their families. It was their ultimate sacrifice that brought veteran Walt Pollard out today. "It's just an honor to be able to help out," said the Vietnam vet. "We served our country because we love it, love the people in it and the democracy. It's not perfect, but it's the best we know of."

You can visit "The Moving Wall" 24 hours a day, until Sunday evening at 6:00. There will be a ceremony tomorrow night at 6:00.

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