A Vietnam War memorial in Lower Manhattan, is especially close to one veteran named Joseph Graham who helped see the project through. The memorial honors veterans like Graham who served in a war that many viewed as there being no way to win.
A renovation of the memorial plaza was completed in 2001, and more refurbishing work is still underway in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
"It's funny every time you hear those helicopters it's what we call a trigger. I get chills in my back because of Vietnam. It was about waitng for choppers to get their guys out," Graham said as he heard choppers fly over the memorial.
Graham enlisted in the air force in 1963 after a year of college.
"There was some peer pressure from my friends in my neighborhood. I also knew it was a tough time and things were heating up in this country called Vietnam. I felt compelled to serve my country," Graham said.
While serving in Vietnam, Graham was a so called air policeman, responsible for base security. He returned home in 1966, and two years later, he and fellow vets found themselves the target of protesters.
"The protesters turned their backs on us. The service organizations did not recognize us."
A welcome home Vietnam veterans day parade in 1985, initiated by then Mayor Ed Koch was a turning point for Graham.
Graham finally got his degree from Queens College in 1990, joined the United War Veterans Council, and currently works to help all veterans