Vietnam War memorial unveiled in Augusta

Published: Mar. 29, 2019 at 6:22 PM EDT
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Friday, March 29, 2019

News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A new memorial was unveiled in Augusta to honor military service members who gave their lives during the Vietnam War.

A special dedication was held today. For more than a year, the Vietnam War Memorial Initiative has been working on fundraising and designing it.

News 12 spoke with people who came to see it and it was an emotional day for many of them. 169 names are on the memorial.

Robert Thompson, who lost his life in the Vietnam War, was Hilda Withers husband.

"He was a helicopter pilot and was killed on a search and destroy mission in August of 1967," said Withers.

Hilda vividly remembers the day she got the knock on her door and was told her husband was missing in action.

“I guess you have these suspicions you know like you don't want to answer the door it was at 6:30 in the morning and usually the children are still asleep you just get a lump in your throat," said Withers.

22 days later, they found his body. Now 50 years later, she's touching his name on the memorial.

“It gives you shivers when you touch it," said Withers.

She's not the only one who feels that. Willis Eugene Hart, a Vietnam War veteran, says it gave him the same feeling.

“Chills all over," said Hart.

He remembers the years he served in Vietnam and the friends he lost.

“We went to Vietnam his name is Roy W. Godowns from down around Louisville, Georgia and he got killed January the 1st about 2 o'clock in the morning 1970, it broke my heart," said Hart.

It may be an emotional day for many but one they feel has been long overdue.

“I was so happy when they unveiled that it's just wonderful to be here and be a part of this and know I did my job as a soldier," said Hart.