(KCBD) - 58,000 names and memories are etched into the Vietnam War Memorial Wall and for Tom Martin, one of those has stuck with him all these years.
"His name is Robert A. Lulla. He was a lieutenant" Martin, a Purple Heart recipient and a veteran of the Vietnam War, said.
As a medic in the Vietnam War, Martin worked closely with Lieutenants one of which was Lulla.
"He was a fine man. That man wouldn't tell us to go out there and fight the enemy, he was up there right beside us," Martin said.
Martin was with Lulla just before he died.
"We were laying in a foxhole, the night before the morning he was killed and the day that I was wounded too, and he got a Dear John (letter) from his wife out there in the jungle laying in the mud. He got a Dear John from his wife, you know and that's never left my mind," Martin said. "That moment, I think about that, man's out there giving his life and you give him a letter 'I found another guy here, you know, you're not here.'"
Nearly 50 years later, Martin still has nightmares.
"I'll never forget this, I had to come and see it. But, this is pretty strong, I'll tell you. Pretty strong," he said. "But I'll never forget it you know, I told my kids, I said I've got to come here one of these days before I die, getting pretty old. So I guess, I made it."
Each name is a life cut short. Each one is a legacy etched in this wall, and in these hearts forever.
"That's one of the names. There's a lot of names, but that's one of the names right there I had to, I've got to touch this name before I go, I love you man, I think about you," said Tom.