* By Sandra T. Molina Pasadena Star-News *
Whittier, CA. – One by one, they stepped up, took a shovel filled with dirt and dropped it onto a concrete vault. It was placed in the ground Friday at the garden at Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary.
Some wore uniforms, some T-shirts and baseball caps with “Vietnam Veteran” embroidered on them.
The men were saying goodbye once again to those who did not come home from Vietnam.
Inside the stainless steel-lined coffin-shaped vault were flowers, letters, photos, jewelry and other mementos left at the base of the Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall during its 10-day stay earlier this month at Rose Hills.
The 1,625 items – which also included a dollar bill, a guitar pick, dog tags, a Vietnam map and a baseball – were left by family, friends and those not even born when the Vietnam War was fought, as a sign of respect to the 58,000 men and women killed or missing in action.
“Nothing was too small or insignificant,” said Bruce Lazenby, Rose Hills executive director of business development. He oversaw the wall’s visit.
“This is the final act of respect and appreciation,” Lazenby told the 50 veterans and family and friends of veterans gathered for the event.
More than 50,000 visited the wall, which stretched for 240 feet and stood 8 feet tall.
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