It all began with an idea about honor and coming home. The Last Patrol, a group of 15 New Jersey Vietnam Veterans and three Nurses who served in Vietnam traveled over 200 miles from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. to the future site of the NJVVMF.
Their goal was to bring their fallen brothers and sister back home to New Jersey while raising awareness about the state’s Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. The group marched from May 13 through 27, stopping at township memorials along the way to honor their fallen brothers and sisters.
The Patrol began two weeks earlier, in Washington D.C. as members of the group and volunteers made rubbings of the 1,486 known New Jerseyans on the Memorial. Placed in a box, these were attached to Henry Rossi’s wheelchair for the trip home.
A highly decorated group, there were 24 Purple Hearts among to the members of the Patrol. Walking between 19 and 23 miles per day, the group spent their nights eating at local VFW posts and resting in local hotels.
As a direct result of their dedication, passion and respect, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial was successfully funded and dedicated on May 7, 1995. May 7, 2015 marked our 20th Anniversary.