Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Vietnam Veterans Make Sure Highland Memorial Is Ready for Grateful Visitors

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Rochester: Vietnam Veterans Make Sure Highland Memorial Is Ready for Grateful Visitors
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It's a string of dates Rochesterians mark on their calendars months in advance. The Lilac Festival starts Friday, and at one of the Highland Park highlights, veterans were engaged in some meaningful spring cleaning.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Friends and brothers. Like family.

The oath each took so many years ago was to support and defend the Constitution.

Their service turned these boys of the 60s, most now in their 60s and 70s, into men.

"I think people realize the warrior doesn't make policy, the government does, and they just did the job. And I think that made a big difference," said Chuck Macaluso.

That's what these Vietnam Veterans are doing: making a difference.

"We're cleaning up the memorial here. Every year we come down and dig out the moss and clean the weeds out," said Bill Heinrich.

For veterans, the Vietnam Memorial stirs all sorts of feelings.

"I've seen a lot of emotions. People who visited here. Tears," said Roger Burkhart, Navy vet.

Of course it does.

It was built for their brothers who never came home.

"It's really important to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, the 280 people who paid with their lives in the Vietnam War from our area here," Macaluso said.

"And that's pretty much what it is, we're honoring our friends who have given us the opportunity to live in this country," said Heinrich.

"We certainly don't want to give anybody the impression that this area's abandoned."

So that's why they're here. On wobbly knees, and sore backs.

"I'm going for a chiropractor tomorrow. He should be able to straighten it out."

To give back in the name of those who never made it back.

"There's an old saying back in our day. Brothers then. Brothers now."

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