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WASHINGTON D.C. (WAOW)--Clarence and James Decker of Colby traveled to Washington D.C. on the Never Forgotten Honor Flight to visit the monuments, but also to visit a fallen family member. Robert H. Decker, Clarence's son and James' older brother lost his life in the Vietnam War.
The two made a special trip to the Vietnam Wall on Monday to trace his name and honor his memory.
"I wanted to use the opportunity while we were here in D.C. to make sure I got to the wall. I figured I owed him that," said James. He was just six months old when his brother was killed in Vietnam.
"It was rough on him," added Clarence while gesturing to his son James, "because he knew he had a brother but he never did see him, never got to talk to him."
The two wandered the wall and soon found what they were looking for. It stirred many emotions and a few tears, staring at the name carved in polished rock.
"I've always felt a little cheated that I never got to know him, spend any time with him," said James.
Clarence was a machine gunner and scout during World War II. He wears a ring bearing two hearts that he whittled himself from a piece of a bomber he said he shot down during the war. It's a reminder of the sacrifices he made so many years ago, memories his son James said are important to honor.
"When you actually meet a person that was there and realize that these people actually lived this, did this and had this happen to them...I think it makes it even more special. You can learn a lot from these people," he said.
Each line and groove carved in the wall tells a story. Staring at the more than 58,000 names, the living history springs to life. A memory standing still--holding fast for anyone, including the Deckers--who've come to pay their respects.
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