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Seven years in the making: Memorial honoring Nebraskan Vietnam veterans opens in Papillion

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 06, 2024

PAPILLION, Neb. (KMTV) — "Oh, there's my picture from when I first joined the service," said 74 year-old Vietnam veteran Roger Acklie.

Acklie looks back at his old self, literally, having a place like the Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor the Nebraskans who gave their time during the Vietnam War.

"It's a thing veterans do," said Acklie. "They go to places like this. Just the camaraderie between us and each other."

Acklie's photos and those of other local veterans now adorn this new Vietnam Veterans Memorial honoring their service.

Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation President Tom Brown suggested the idea seven years ago.

"It's not as exciting as much as it is such a solemn place," said Brown. "There's so much information there. So many memories."

Construction on the memorial started last October and just finished last month. The project cost seven million dollars.

The memorial site includes a restored UH-1 huey helicopter, obelisks marking each year of the war, and walls bearing veterans who served and came home and those who never did.

"Walking through here today, it brings back memories of yesterday," said Vietnam veteran Larry Sabata.

The organizing group tells me that the holding of the ceremony on the 80th anniversary of D-Day is a coincidence.

The memorial is located at 11695 S 108th St, Papillion, NE 68046. The memorial is free and open to the public.