‘It’s our responsibility to tell their story.’ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall unveiled in Wayne Township

Those at the memorial say it’s a reminder that there's no better time than the present to recognize the service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Amanda Eustice

May 21, 2024, 12:29 AM

Updated 23 days ago

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Tony Vancheri points out a name on a memorial of a man he treated when he a United States Army combat medic during the Vietnam War.
"He succumbed to his wounds there. Nick Cerrato, he lived in Paterson," Vancheri says.
Cerrato was one of the 84 people from Passaic County who were killed in action. His name now sits on a permanent Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on the campus of the Public Safety Academy in Wayne Township.
The wall doesn't just feature those who died locally, but the thousands of service members from across the country who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
"It's great to have people who care about us, because when we came home, nobody cared about us except our families," says Vancheri.
Passaic County officials say it's the second largest memorial wall in the nation behind Washington, D.C.’s memorial. Officials unveiled the memorial over the weekend.
Vietnam veteran John Harris says it was a “moving Vietnam veterans memorial wall" that would travel from town to town that inspired county officials to create a permanent one.
"We're here because it's our responsibility to tell their story. I share stories with families of people who are on the wall. I had many, many who were with me up north in Vietnam that were killed in action," says Harris.
With more than 58,000 names on this wall, Vietnam veterans still around today say the memorial serves as a reminder and a thank you for those who've given so much.
"You know, I don't know all of them, but I know every one of them because I know what happened to them. It was a senseless war, and you know, this wall represents no politics, no race, creed, religion or anything else," Harris says.
"I get to see my brothers and sisters. I can say, ‘You're not forgotten, we miss you, we love you, we honor you,’" says Vancheri.
Those at the memorial say it’s a reminder that there's no better time than the present to recognize the service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice.


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