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Traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Visits San Diego

Above: Marine Corps veteran Clint Griffin looks at the names of Americans who died in the Vietnam War on a traveling Vietnam War memorial that is visiting San Diego.

Aired 3/14/14 on KPBS News.

A traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has come to San Diego for people to pay their respects.

Active-duty Marines gathered downtown Wednesday to set up a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. Named "The Wall That Heals," the memorial is half the size of the one in Washington, D.C. It includes the names of the 58,286 men and women who died in the Vietnam War.

The wall will be open to the public all day though Sunday, but some veterans already got a preview and recognized names on the wall.

Clint Griffin is a Marine Corps veteran and works for the USS Midway Museum.

"For me in particular, there is one name on there of a young man that I talked into joining the Marine Corps, and he never came home," Griffin said. "It brings back a lot of memories, and it's probably the last time that I can pay my respects. It's the first time I've had the opportunity, and I didn't want to pass it up. I would've crawled down here on my hands and knees."

Ron Bonnin served in Vietnam. He recalled a childhood friend who's name is on the wall.

"Best friends growing up, he was killed just a couple of miles from where I was in Vietnam. I did not know he was in the Army at the time, so I never got to say all the things you think about after you lose someone," Bonnin said.

More than 350 of the people listed on the wall were from San Diego County. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is also accepting photographs of fallen servicemen for their education center being built in Washington.

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