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WASHINGTON-Dozens of South Dakotans visited the nation’s capitol to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for themselves on Wednesday.

The Vietnam Memorial wall has more than 58-thousand names of men and women who died in the war.

“There’s 7 coasties on the wall that i make a point looking up i didn’t know them, i didn’t serve with them but being in that small branch of service it’s an obligation to pay my respects,” said veteran Edward Timm.

“It’s very humbling, very solemn and especially to see members of my chapter and the emotions they have with it,” said veteran Sherry Almjeld.

For veteran Jack Kempter, this is the first time he’s seen the memorial in person.

“I have a brother in law there that i have in etching that we just did and we just can’t put into words,” said Kempter.

Kempter spent 13 months in Vietnam risking his life for our country—he say’s his time overseas was rough. “It was kind of a daily thing, you either got shot at or they were throwing rockets or mortars or something in at ya and that’s the way we lived for 13 months.”

The veterans admit they were not the most popular people coming home from war but decades later that feeling has changed.

“When we came back to the world, people didn’t like us they threw things at us they spit on us they called us a lot of names and we we not welcome into the United States,” said Kempter.

People at the memorial congratulated these on their service—some posing for pictures, the long-awaited respect is finally showing through.

“Overdue experience and it’s kind of an emotional experience as well,” said Timm.

The veterans will come home Thursday. The group raised money to go on this trip all by themselves. 

By Nick Starling
Valley News Live
Published April 29, 2015

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