Vietnam Veterans Memorial Rededicated

Colin Powell addresses veterans at the rededication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial that opened 25 years ago. Long before he was Secretary of State and a General, Powell served two tours in Vietnam.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

One of the leading voices in government at the start of the Iraq War took a moment this past weekend to remember an earlier conflict.

Colin Powell spoke at the rededication of the Vietnam's Veterans Memorial here in Washington. It opened 25 years ago. Long before he was secretary of state, Powell served two tours in Vietnam. And when he came to that famous black wall, he spoke of a letter left there from the mother of a fallen soldier to the soldier's father.

General COLIN POWELL (Retired; Former Secretary of State, U.S. State Department): (Reading) Dear Pete, here's Guy's(ph) graduation picture. You would be so proud. He has become a fine young man. I think I've done a pretty good job raising him. I have taught him about you, our love, your love for him, and your love and commitment to our country. In return, this love has been instilled in him, and our values passed on. Thank you for your love and this child. I will always love you, Margaret(ph).

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: That's an excerpt of one of many letters, cards and flowers left at the Vietnam Memorial over the past 25 years. It was read by a Vietnam veteran, former secretary of state and general, Colin Powel.

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