Vietnam Veterans Memorial Adds Names Of 6 Service Members

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* By Michael E. Ruane Washington Post *

Taylor Pontin ran her right index finger over the name of her brother, William L. Taylor, which had just been sand-blasted into the polished black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Back and forth she moved her finger, gently feeling the pristine gray letters etched in the surface of this most tactile of monuments.

She smiled at the sensation, as if reaching her brother through the stone — “forever young, and strong and beautiful,” as another relative said Tuesday of the those newly enshrined on the nation’s memorial to the Vietnam war dead.

The occasion was the addition to the Wall of the names of six more people wounded during the war who recently died of their injuries. The event took place just days after the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon and the end of the war.

These were men for whom the war, in a way, never ended.

The Pentagon ruled each one eligible for inclusion on the wall, which as of Tuesday bore 58,267 names, according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which created the memorial. A total of 328 names have been added since the wall was dedicated in 1982.

There was Taylor, “a native Washingtonian,” his sister said, a graduate of Anacostia High School, and a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army. He was terribly burned and riddled with shrapnel on Sept. 21, 1970. “He carried [the war] all his life,” his sister said.

They were still picking shrapnel out of him the week before he died last year at age 67 in a nursing home in Tampa.

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