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Vietnam service in spotlight at vets cemetery

From left, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the commander-in-chief of the Nevada Guard, Caleb Cage, the executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid unveil the Vietnam War Memorial Wall at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 27 in Fernley, Nev.  NV ARNG photo by Sergeant 1st Class Erik Studenicka (released).

From left, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the commander-in-chief of the Nevada Guard, Caleb Cage, the executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, and Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid unveil the Vietnam War Memorial Wall at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 27 in Fernley, Nev. NV ARNG photo by Sergeant 1st Class Erik Studenicka (released).

FERNLEY -- More than five decades after the Vietnam War began, the service and contributions of Vietnam-era veterans was in the spotlight during Memorial Day events at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery here May 27.

National Guard officials including Nevada adjutant general Brig. Gen. Bill Burks and Oregon assistant adjutant general Brig. Gen. Todd Plimpton joined Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to dedicate the cemetery's new Vietnam War Memorial Wall to culminate the day's activities at the annual Memorial Day event.

The memorial wall features the names of the 151 Nevada service members who were killed in action during the Vietnam War. The names of eight Nevada nurses and seven prisoners of war who remain missing are featured on a separate marker.

"This is a sacred day in Nevada when we can honor the men and women who served in Vietnam," said Sandoval, the commander-in-chief of the Nevada Guard. "It makes me proud that we can come together as a family to recognize the contributions of these Nevadans."

According to Caleb Cage, the executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, more than 1,200 people attend the Memorial Day Ceremony that featured a keynote speech by retired Army Lt. Col. Tyrus Cobb, who was among the final contingent of American Soldiers to exit Vietnam.

The Department of Defense is set to pay special tribute to the nation's Vietnam veterans during the course of the next decade to roughly coincide with the 50th anniversary of the conflict that ended in 1975 and resulted in more than 58,000 American deaths.

'This is just a small way to finally begin showing Vietnam veterans the respect they deserve," Burks said.

The memorial wall was funded by the Ghost Soldiers motorcycle club based in Fernley.