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Vietnam Memorial replica comes to Southern Arizona

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BENSON, Ariz. (KVOA) - A Hero’s Welcome, that’s the name of the event that took place in Benson through the weekend. It’s dedicated to honoring our veterans.

It’s a replica of the famous Washington D.C. Memorial that honors those who fought in Vietnam.

“It’s a welcome home to our heroes. You know, those who have passed and those who are here," said Benson Mayor Toney D. King Sr.

The memorial made a stop right here in Southern Arizona.

Paul Silvertsen is a veteran and had a pretty big job back then.

"I was in Vietnam in 68 and 69," Silvertsen said. "I was in army intelligence in the aviation unit, serving with the royal Thai army."

On Saturday, Silvertsen and hundreds of others came out to pay tribute.

"I'm out here in support of the moving wall because it educates the young, it allows the old people to decompress a little bit," Silvertsen said. "My time in Vietnam was no fun...You can't forget it. I have many people I know on this wall."

“A lot of times everyone’s looking forward about where’s this country going to, but sometimes we need to stop and look back. What have we been through?" Jason Taylor, an Arizona Army National Guard Recruiter, added.

In addition to the massive wall honoring the men and women who fought in Vietnam, there is also a tribute to the men and women who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s never even been shown and Benson has the honor of it being shown for the very best first time and it will not be shown again until 2021.

“We are also going to have panels here that are in remembrance of Fort Hood and the USS Coal," said Heather Floyd of the Benson City Chamber of Commerce.

If you’re struggling to remember what a veteran did, Vicki’s daughter’s story is a good reminder.

“She got off the bus at Arlington Cemetery and saw row after row of headstones. She started crying and couldn’t stop. I told her, 'number one, you shouldn’t be embarrassed', and number two, I was proud because she saw the loss of so many that paid the ultimate price," Vicki Vivian, Manager for the City of Benson, told News 4 Tucson.

“If it’s not for us in Benson. It’s for them," King added.

The memorial is open 24/7 through Sunday, September 20th.

Austin Walker

Austin is a Reporter at KVOA News 4 Tucson. He graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in May of 2020.

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