This past Father’s Day, military families of U.S. troops who died in the Vietnam War made their annual trip to Washington, D.C. This was the 25th year children, grandchildren, family members and friends gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to wash the black granite panels on the Wall - the Vietnam Veterans Memorial - in our nation's capital. Watch
This emotional day is part of a weekend-long event organized by Sons and Daughters in Touch and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for survivors to coincide with Father’s Day. The day is a very emotional one for these family members of U.S. troops who died in the Vietnam War.
Because of the environment in America after the Vietnam War ended, many of these military families spent years suffering quietly - often not even discussing their fallen relatives with other family members.
“We all grew up in silence,” Patty Lee, who was participating that day, said of a generation of children whose fathers died in a war many wanted to forget. “We didn’t talk about Vietnam, we didn’t talk about our fathers.”
This annual Father's Day event began in 1992 when the group Sons and Daughters in Touch, organized a gathering at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., for children of Vietnam veterans lost in the war. The event offered these military family members a chance to meet others with similar stories - and more importantly - a chance to see that they were not alone.
After the first year's success, the event continued to grow with more and more family members and friends coming to the nation's capital to wash the Wall, to share stories with new and old friends and to heal.
Now, on the 25th anniversary of the first gathering, more than 100 people spanning multiple generations brought brushes and buckets of soapy water to help clean the black granite panels and pay respect to their relatives and the other veterans who were killed in the Vietnam War.
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