Moving Memorial Moving

FRESNO, Calif.

Chowchilla will be ground zero over the next couple of days for people searching for names of loved ones.

Veterans are the backbone of freedom in the U.S. and put themselves in harms way to guarantee our way of life, many of their names are here along this wall.

Saturday residents and veterans Action News spoke to, had a chance to remember and say good bye in their own special way.

More than 5,500 California soldiers were killed during the Vietnam War.

Those names are among the 5,8000 on this moving Vietnam Memorial wall.

"We said when we got back we'd have a cigar and a beer. So we had our cigar and our beer today," said Merced resident Mike Abney. He's waited 38 years to say good-bye to his friend. "This is real emotional for me. I don't know if I could have handled the one in D.C."

The American Legion and V.F.W. of Chowchilla raised the money necessary for the wall to make a four day stop at the Veteran's Memorial park.

Five Chowchilla soldiers gave their lives during the war and were recognized for their service. Two gold star mothers were also honored as they placed wreaths at the wall.

"It was hard for me to come. But I'm happy now. I'm happy," said Ruth Bedolla. Dozens stopped to thank Ruth Bedolla for her son's sacrifice.

He was 19 years old when he went off to war. "These young men being over there suffering for their country, for their country. And all I have is flags flying...memories of yesterday," Bedolla said.

"I just found out today that her son was in that convoy that was killed where I was pulling road security," said veteran Robert Mankin.

Mankin had no idea when he showed up to the wall Saturday he would have this small connection with Bedolla's son. "It's amazing, you find out 35 years later that this is how it affected this family here."

Even though this wall is half the size of the original in D.C. families said it is still overwhelming.

Andrea Garvey of Kerman said: "It's important for people to see this and just know what kind of sacrifice people have made for us." Because this is an emotion event there are counselors available to talk with people.

The wall will be up through Monday. You can view it any time during the day or night, there is security around the clock.

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