Marine Week: Visitors flock to Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Cleveland

CLEVELAND - The largest replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is on display at Voinovich Park in Cleveland for Marine Week.

Visitors can walk along the red carpet to find the names of more than 58,000 fallen loved ones, MIAs (missing in action) and POWs (prisoners of war). Many wanted to remember their family or friends by making a pencil rubbing of their name. Others came to the Ninth Street Pier simply to pray.

A band of brothers who served together in Vietnam rode their motorcycles up to the memorial. Two veterans came all the way from Australia for the Marine Week festivities.

"We came down here to pay respect our brothers who've fallen in the name of this great country," said Francis "Mule" Rakowski, a USMC veteran who served in Vietnam. Years later, Rakowski is still serving, by helping his fellow veterans cope with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rakowski got emotional recalling his own battle with PTSD. He said he's been sober for more than 26 years and vows to help others overcome similar obstacles.

Although Don Ron served in the Army, not the Marines, he said he wouldn't miss Marine Week for the world. "I'm here to pay homage to all the Marines that served our country and to honor the ones who are no longer with us," said Ron.

Visitors can stop by the Vietnam Wall Replica from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

A complete listing of Marine Week events can be found by following this link: http://on.wews.com/LMzWBD

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