The search is on to make sure the faces of New York’s Vietnam War veterans are remembered forever.
Nearly 50 years after Vietnam War Veteran John Joseph Vennard was killed in action, there will now finally be a photo to remember him in Washington D.C.
“Jackie loved his country so I got this out of my drawer and put it on,” Patricia Trapasso said.
Five decades gone by but the pain of losing their brother Marine Corporal John Joseph Vennard still runs deep for sisters Trapasso and Ilene Bond.
“On the second tour is when he got hit by the scrap metal and killed him,” Bond said.
He was killed in Vietnam at just 35 years old, one of nine children born and raised in Albany.
“Jackie took care of me and he was the love of our life,” Trapasso said.
The fateful day they received the awful news still fresh in their minds.
“My father answered the door but very, very sad,” Bond said.
Keeping Cpl. Vennard’s memory alive is not a question for 89-year-old Patricia and 85-year-old Illene, it’s a mission, much like the mission of this Albany woman, Sue Britton who started her own journey of remembrance.
“From Albany County alone there were 16 veterans that did not have a photo and I thought what a terrible shame,” Susan Britton, of the Rensselaerville American Legion Auxiliary, said.
So Britton started Finding the New York Faces, a search for missing photos in hopes of adding the faces of those who sacrificed so much to the virtual Vietnam Veteran’s memorial wall.
“Within a couple of hours was able to find three or four family members of some of them.”
Vennard’s bio on the online wall was empty, now thanks to the connection made between Britton and the sisters, a photo of Vennard has been added.
“He sees us in heaven and watches over us and I think he’d be happy to see this too,” Trapasso said.
Britton didn’t stop with Vennard, pushing on with a cause close to her heart, her own husband served in Vietnam.
“Where we were close to 1,200 missing from New York State we’re down to something like 950.”