“I have four friends of mine on the wall. One, a dear friend. We went from grade school to high school, played ball together and I named my first son after him. My other buddies, I played little league baseball with them, and they never had a chance to have a life. They were all 20, 21 years old, like most of us. This is very special,” said Dennis Nuara, Vietnam War veteran.

Dozens of volunteers spent hours assembling The Wall that Heals, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Community members put pieces of the wall together at the Zem Zem Shrine Club.

Like the original memorial, it has more than 50,000 names of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. The Erie community is invited to visit The Wall all Memorial Day weekend.

“This is the opportunity for Erie to formally thank the Vietnam veterans in your area and also to give them the welcome home that many of them did not receive when they came home from Vietnam,” said Jim Knotts, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Knotts said even for those who don’t have a personal connection to the Vietnam War, it’s important for them to pay their respects and honor all who have served.

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“Certainly, the wall is meaningful to veterans, not just Vietnam veterans but veterans of all eras. They recognize how important it is for our communities and our country at large to understand what it means for someone to serve in the military and make those sacrifices. Some made the ultimate sacrifice, others made sacrifices that they’ve carried with them for years,” Knotts said.