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Replica Vietnam Memorial Heals Veterans in the Northland

Updated: 07/21/2014 10:41 PM
Created: 07/21/2014 4:48 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

On Main Street in Sandstone, a piece of Washington D.C. comforted veterans here at home.

"There are 47 names that I personally know," Vietnam Veteran Jim Best said. "It's a traveling cemetery. We have veterans from one end of this place to the other who have actually, for the first time, started to find peace."

The replica Vietnam War Memorial is 254 feet long. That's half the size of the one in Washington D.C. It can be loaded on a truck where the moving memorial travels the country.

There are more than 58,000 veterans on it and for many people they are much more than just names.

"I had friends killed there," Vietnam Veteran Bud Hamilton said. "It brings back memories."

Hamilton came down to Sandstone with a group from Silver Bay. He was searching for a name and some closure.

"I went to high school with him," Hamilton said. "He was only 23 when he got killed. He had his whole life to go."

In an effort to thank veterans for their sacrifice, Debbie May was giving out handmade hats from her suitcase full of gratitude.

"I just had the idea and I had some yarn," May said. "I thought I'd like to give back."

For three decades, the replica memorial has been on the move. It travels all over the United States with healing power on board.

"This one will still hold you just like that one," Best said. "If you come here looking, you will find what you're looking for."

The wall was packed up in Sandstone Monday afternoon. The replica is now off to Cleveland, Minn. near Mankato. It will be on display there starting Thursday.

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