This past weekend one of our local towns sponsored the presentation of the replica “Viet Nam wall” to Long Island.
A newspaper publicity photo showed that one of our local Diehard Engineer vets was active in the program.
Sunday afternoon at 5PM, I decided that I would go over and visit the wall for a few minutes, then come home and finish up the weekend’s task that my wife had put on my list.
When I got there, I didn’t realize that on Long Island, we make a federal case of these presentations.
I got there as the fire department’s bag pipe band was finishing their program.
The volunteer fire department had set up their tallest ladder trucks making an honor arch.
There was a program with all the local dignitaries.
They even had former Pittsburgh running back Rocky Bleier as the featured speaker.
Rocky spoke about his whole story from school to Nam to the Steelers, for about 20 minutes.
Next, the town had all the Nam (and other war) veterans stand in the center and they played an appropriate Billy Joel Nam was song.
I searched out this fellow Bill Torres who was on the committee.
Bill was in Bill Green’s platoon in Lai Khe during 1969-70.
Torres had been featured last year, with an old photo, in our local Long Island paper, on Veteran’s Day.
In that picture, he was featured with his pet monkey.
This was odd to me, because on our Diehard website, I had posted a photo of Juan Moncivaiz and Tom Kurkjian also with a monkey.
Juan had told me later that both the monkeys were actually a pair, a male and a female.
I finally tracked down Bill Torres in the crowd.
He was wearing a new, clean and starched pair of fatigues with a purple dickey that apparently signifies a purple heart.
I was wearing my original Lai Khe washed out/ greenish fatigue shirt with the Diehard patch on the pocket.
We exchanged warm greetings.
Bill’s wife was in charge of the book with the location of all the names on the wall.
I have attached a photo of our meeting in front of the wall.
I am the one in half a military uniform (sorry Col Cox, the original pants have shrunk.)