Vietnam veterans look to bring memorial to Arizona

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Arizona veterans of the Vietnam War are looking to bring a replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C., to the state. Hear from local veterans’ experiences after arriving home from war as they share the impact and power of the Memorial Wall.

Ted Simons: Ken burns' documentary on the Vietnam War continues tonight. In conjunction with the program, we collected stories from a number of Arizona residents who served during the war. Tonight we hear about those who fought to bring a replica wall to Arizona.

Ed Mangan: When we came back from Vietnam we were told do not wear your uniform. That is a shame. It should not be that way.

Skip Erickson: I got home and there were four people there to greet me. My mom and dad and brothers. I wasn't on a big flight so there wasn't a big protest.

Roger Pollard: You put the uniform in the box, put the box in the closet and you don't want to think about it. It really wasn't good. That wasn't something you ran around and broadcast. Hey, I am a Vietnam vet.

Skip Erickson: The wall is incredible. Anyone my age knows generally at least one individual from the war. I know a lot of individuals from the war.

Ed Mangan: It is interesting what happens to you as you walk toward this because it is fairly quiet when you walk in there. There are other vets there but they are talking quietly. You see them with their Vietnam hats on. As I walked past the panel and I see these names we -- the realization a lot of people died in that war hits you. 53, 800 names were on the wall and all those names had families and birthdays and moms and dads. So you think about that and it hits you a little bit.

Roger Pollard: I have been to Washington twice since all of this. It is tremendous. If you have been there, it means something. Even if you haven't been there, it means something.

John Chiazza: Although like I said it is very emotional and it was when I first went there. I mean my wife had to catch me because -- I am sorry -- I dropped right to my knees. It just -- I had friends on there. Good friends. But just to see all these names in one place it was quite emotional and it still is. I have been back three or four times now. It is just something that had to be done and it is quite a place.

Skip Erickson: I have been there -- you say it and i have been there four times and just got goosebumps. It is so especially. It changes if me. It is a mirror.

Ed Mangan: Took me a while to get there. I think the wall was finished in 1981 and i didn't get there until 2008 or so. And part of this wasn't necessarily because i couldn't financially do it but it was because I had to get ready for it.

Skip Erickson: I know individuals who would never go they are so impacted by the war they will never go see the wall. Most of us have gone and it is just special when you are there. Everybody on that wall is pretty young. The individuals I know don't have the gray hair and aches and pains. They are kind of frozen. At first it was they are not going to have the oath we have. But that is the way they are remembered. You can smile but it is truly a mirroring to where we have been and where we are now.

Ted Simons: And again the Vietnam War by Ken Burns continues tonight on Arizona PBS at 7:00 and picks up again Sunday evening. That is it for now. I am Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Arizona "Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS. Members of your PBS station. Thank you.

Ed Mangan: Vietnam Veteran
Roger Pollard: Vietnam Veteran
John Chiazza: Vietnam Veteran
Skip Erickson: Vietnam Veteran

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