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The wounds of the Vietnam era are deep, and many of them were inflicted emotionally when soldiers returned home to a country in political turmoil, a country that treated too many Vietnam veterans not as heroes, but as ideological outcasts.
The Wall, the nation's memorial to soldiers who died as the result of the Vietnam War, provided a great deal of healing for many veterans. Local Vietnam memorials cropped up across the nation, but only years after the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam.
During Fourth of July activities in Cape Girardeau, a Vietnam memorial was dedicated, on the Common Pleas Courthouse Park lawn, that honors both those who died in the service of their nation and those who came home to more jeers than cheers.
It is a fitting monument of Missouri white marble.
In remarks during the dedication ceremony, Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones summed up on behalf of area residents:
"Real patriotism requires more than posting a flag in our yard. It requires action, commitment and a willingness to sacrifice for your country -- like our Vietnam veterans."