EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There was an emotional welcome Friday for a memorial wall paying tribute to veterans.
Among them are soldiers who served alongside William Green, of Floral Park.
“It took me 40 years before I actually put a veteran’s hat on,” he said. “I just faded away, put my uniform in the closet.”
Decades for Green and his wife, Elaine, to acknowledge Vietnam’s effects on their lives.
“The memories come back and the tears keep flowing. It doesn’t stop,” Elaine Green said.
William Green returned to Long Island from Vietnam in 1968, feeling anything but a hero, reliving his days in Nha Trang, Vietnam.
“You know, guys are on there and they’re screaming and they’re crying, and you had to take care of them when they got them to the field hospital, ” he said.
“These are our heroes, and I don’t think that we do enough to honor them,” Virginia Cervasio, with the Heroes Among Us Foundation, said.
The memorial is meant as a “healing wall” for those never given a proper welcome home.
“They weren’t acknowledged the way they were supposed to have been, the way they should have been and that’s just really a disgrace,” Nassau County Legislator Laura Schaefer said.
Lawmakers want this to be a teaching moment for both younger and older generations.
William and Elaine Green brought their 90-year-old neighbor, Mario Cangialosi, to pay respects at the emotional site.
“I am overwhelmed by the amount of people that sacrificed themselves for this war and the Vietnamese people,” Cangialosi said.
The memorial is set to visit 34 states this year. It will go to Pennsylvania next.
Closing ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
“Although those guys that are on that wall are gone, they’re still here. They’re still here,” William Green said.
Families are urged to attend a candlelight ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It’s located in Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, Long Island, Field 2.