Local Vietnam veteran remembers painful day

  There's a replica of the Vietnam Wall now on display in Brunswick County. The replica is not as large, of course, as the monument in Washington, DC.

It is still an emotional experience, especially for one local veteran..

A ceremony at the moving memorial Monday honors the lives of those killed in Vietnam. At the wall, now on display in Bolivia, people search for names of family members, trace the names of lost friends, pay tribute to the dead.

But for one local veteran, there is one name on this wall that he could never forget.

With a shaking hand, Colonel Carlos Simmons of Bolivia searches the more than 58,000 names for that of Captain James Treesh. He wasn't blood, but they were brothers on the battlefield.

Simmons says time can't erase the memory of the day he tried to save Treesh's life.

"We were going to capture the supplies and he was dismounted," Simmons said. "There were in spider holes all around and he was shot ... So I had to go get him. I didn't have a choice in my mind."

 No choice meant heading back into heavy fire to try to save his friend from Illinois. 

"I swept up his Number 13 boots and literally drug him off the battlefield," Simmons said. "My mind was blank, my mind was on getting him out of there. The first thing I did was try first aid," Simmons remembers. "I checked his pulse and he was dead."

Touching Treesh's name brings back the loss he felt then, and still feels today, for his friend and the thousands listed on this wall.

"When you see them lying down and see them in body bags," he trails off.

"We were all exposed to the same thing. Some little sniper picked him (Treesh) out and shot him. God I am lucky, I am so so lucky."

The moving wall will be on display in Bolivia through Sunday. You can visit the memorial from 8:30 am until 6:30 pm.

Reported by Sara Straeten