It took dedication, heart and perseverance, but after decades, Winnebago County Vietnam veterans now have a sanctuary to remember their fallen servicemen: the LZ Peace Memorial.
"Twenty years later the dream became a reality, and that's like everybody, you have to have a dream. You stick with it and regardless of the obstacles, boom, you can make it happen. I'm really proud of those guys," veteran Donald Allen said.
The $800,000 memorial was made possible by hundreds of donors, each selflessly contributing to honor these 72 selfless warriors, their names permanently etched in granite stone.
"They all tremendously supported it, and sometimes I didn't even have to ask twice, just one time, and they know what we wanted to do. They did it. I'm grateful for hundreds of people," veteran Nick Parnello said.
The LZ Peace Memorial has special significance for Vietnam veterans who felt the overseas losses firsthand here at home.
"I personally know five people on this memorial. I went to high school with some of them, I grew up with some of them. It means a lot to their families to the community," veteran Cameron Linder said.
And years after returning from war and often times forgotten, these Vietnam veterans are now remembered in a special memorial.
"I'm glad I'm here, and I'm here to bring their memory forward because if we forget them, then everyone else will forget," Allen said.