‘It’s also personal’: Vietnam vets honor comrades at Punta Gorda memorial

For Anthony “Bud” Bell, a 30-year Air Force veteran and Vietnam Memorial Wall of Southwest Florida board member, the wall is personal.

“It memorializes the 58,000 plus men and women who died in Vietnam,” Bell said.

The Virginia Military Institute gathered Wednesday at the Vietnam Memorial Wall to pay tribute to 44 alumni who lost their lives.

“These young men and women did nothing more than what their country asked them to do and some of the paid the ultimate price for that,” Bell said.

This site is becoming popular for similar ceremonies, according to the American Legion Post 110.

Bell used a barcode reader and website provided at the wall to find one of his friends, named Raymond Porter, who was killed in August 1965 in Vietnam after volunteering to join the United States Marine Corps.

“It’s also personal … most veterans know somebody whose name is on that wall,” Bell said.

Bell said more veterans are looking to have this experience in Punta Gorda, so people can honor the fallen service members.

“It’s another attraction in our city where people can come and pay tribute here at the wall,” Bell said.

The wall is within Laishley Park onĀ 120 Laishley Court in Punta Gorda.

Attendees can locate their loved one’s names on the memorial by visiting their website.

Reporter:Melinda Lee