My first visit to the Vietnam Memorialin Washington DC was shortly after it opened in 1984 and by then the controversy of the war had subsided but the anguish of broken lives remained a national open sore. Instead of the noble tributes that we saw today at Fort Hood, Vietnam veterans were never quite seen like the men and women in the armed services today. The Vietnam Memorial was perhaps an apology for the days of controversy when political posturing overshadowed the anguish of personal sacrifice. All along the wall that day were stacks of personal tributes...letters , mementos, dog tags of those who survived and even some teddy bears. Like so many who visit the site, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of seeing over 58,000 names and all those mementos of unspoken promises, yearnings and prayers. It was hot and humid as only DC can be in August. I needed to catch my breath before I made the long walk to the section where my cousin Raul Robledo would be listed. My one task for that day, as the first in my family to visit Washington DC was to take a photo and send it to my Tia Paula who lived in Shreveport, Louisiana. A single parent, of very humble beginnings, my Aunt would never make this same journey. So I walked to a nearby souvenir stand selling soft drinks and stood in line and glanced at the post cards of DC and the Memorial. And then, there it was. One postcard. A dozen names. A rose laying on one side. My cousin's name was there framed by the one rose and the border on that postcard. I bought as many as I could for her and for Raul, my cousin, who I never had the chance to meet--growing up on opposite sides of the country. Raul was deployed Nov 11, 1967 and died by friendly fire March 14, 1968 at the age of 20 and left behind one daughter who he never met. No matter how I frame that day for myself, I always picture my aunt opening the envelope with my letter and the cards and hope she felt proud that day. Today is about that moment for her and all the families who have someone to thank, someone to remember or someone to care for this Veteran's Day.