Honoring 50,000 soldiers in Manchester

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — A moving memorial in more ways than one; we take a closer look at those who gave their all in sacrifice for the country.

“I’m proud to say that I served in the Vietnam War,” said Robert Venti, an Army veteran who served two years in Vietnam.”

This is more than just a memorial wall. It’s labeled  the “Wall that Heals,” a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C, that was brought to Manchester, to honor those who died in the The Vietnam War.

“A lot of my friends from East Hartford, where I grew up, at least 12 of them were my classmates,” Venti said. “They’re on that wall there.”

Of the more than 58,000 names on the wall who gave the ultimate sacrifice, 612 were Connecticut residents.

But it’s more than just names on a wall.
“It’s such a moving experience, it’s just hard to say that I came back unscathed and 58,307 didn’t,” Venti said.

Every single name has a story behind. A family and loved ones who were forced to move on, though after four decades, they’ll never forget. Like Charles and Helene Crocini, who were searching for the name of Peter Mitchell.

“He was my youngest brother’s best friend all through school and my cousin Marianne’s boyfriend,” said Crocini, who lives in Manchester.

As time passes and new generations take over, the organizers — who spent 15 months preparing to bring the replica wall to Manchester — took more time to teach young students, curious to know more about a war, that seems so distant to them, but will always remain constant for those who lived it.
“I think they need to know the history of this country and what struggles we’ve gone through and how we’ve stood up for the oppressed people and done our duty as Americans,” Crocini said.

The wall will remain in Manchester until Saturday.

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