Unveiling a new memorial in Dinuba that's honoring Valley veterans

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Today is the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon marking the end of the Vietnam war. (KFSN)

Today is the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon marking the end of the Vietnam war. South Valley residents honored the day by dedicating the only permanent copy of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall that's located in the Western United States. It now sits in Dinuba.

It took one year and nine people to bring it here, a mission that once seemed impossible.

"I said buy the wall? How much is it? He said 400k. That's a house and a half I said no... but I hung up the phone and my husband said go for it you can do it," said Romelia Castillo, the coordinator of the Vietnam Wall Project.

They went for it all right, pounding the pavement- raising thousands to bring a small version of the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to Dinuba. Castillo says outside of Washington D.C., there's one other wall sitting in Oklahoma, meaning the South Valley holds the only other permanent copy.

Castillo said, "This is going to stay here forever when I'm gone my grandkids and their kids will see this wall and it's part of history."

For Visenta Torres that history was written into family legacy. Her brother Jose Arredondo died while serving in Vietnam.

"I'm proud of him," said Torres. "Because he loved his country and he died for his country."

All of his 10 siblings once remembered Jose as the one who liked to joke around, the one who's passion for adventure lured him to enlist. The family was notified through telegram that they'd lost him in 1971. It was a day they'll never forget, but on this 40th anniversary of the end of the war, that day is marked with pride for the man who had so many dreams.

Torres added, "When he was younger he would always tell my mom that someday he'd be somebody and he ended up being somebody even though it cost him his life."

And it cost the lives of the more than 58,000 other people who are forever remembered on this wall. The committee still needs to raise another $34,000 but say they expect their fundraising to be complete by next year.



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