Vietnam veterans remembered with name reading ceremony in DC

 
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At the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial on Tuesday afternoon, volunteers started reading the names of every soldier killed.

- In honor of all our service men and women who've sacrificed for this country, events leading up to Veterans Day are getting underway.

At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Tuesday afternoon, volunteers started reading the names of every soldier killed.

To read all 58,318 names, it will take 2,000 volunteers and four days.

Dozens of volunteers came out to begin reading at 4 p.m., going through midnight, despite the frigid and wet weather.

"It seems to me like it almost means a little bit more that this is strenuous," said Devin Ruic, a volunteer with the DC chapter of Team Red White and Blue, a veteran's advocacy group.

"This is difficult. It's cold. There are still people out here walking this walking this wall. There are still people here to read these names."

"I'm West Point class of '56," said retired Lt. Colonel retired Tom Griffin, of the 101st Airborne Division.

"We have 11 names on this wall. They did what their country asked them to do." 

Griffin, who served in Vietnam twice, stood in the rain for an hour in order to read his buddy's name: Lieutenant Commander Walter Sutton Wood, Missing in Action.

Wood saved Griffin's life when they were at West Point, getting him out of a burning building. Now, his name is etched in permanence for his bravery in the war as well.

"We see the impact it has on people and the fact that their names are here, and they can be forever here," said Griffin. "And people leave mementos here."

In the solemn reflection of the name-reading ceremony, those soldiers are alive forever.

"There's a sentiment that a person never truly dies until the last person forgets their name or their name is not spoken any longer," said Ruic.

"Family members, friends, and the people that have followed in their footsteps come here to remember them every day and this is one of the most important monuments we have."

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial name reading ceremony will be held from 5 a.m. until 12 a.m. through Friday.

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