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Hull memorial to honor its Vietnam-era veterans

Veterans of World War II and the Korean War hailing from Hull had their names cast in bronze in the town’s war monument almost as soon as those conflicts officially ended.

But nearly 40 years after the Vietnam War ended, more than 500 veterans who served during that era will finally have their moment, when two bronze tablets bearing their names will be unveiled during a special ceremony this month. Three Hull residents died in the conflict.

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“From 1953 to 2013, it’s been a while,” said Ed Burke, a member of the town’s War Memorial Commission, about the last time the town’s war monument was updated.

“We’ve been talking about it for years and just finally we started to say, ‘Listen, let’s get it done.’ It wasn’t anything dramatic or traumatic. It’s time to do it.”

The June 23 unveiling will be the culmination of a grass-roots effort that started after Town Meeting last year, when a motion requesting town funds to update the monument was tabled because the cost of the project was too small for a bond. But the town has since appropriated $11,200 for the two tablets. In addition, the commission raised about $12,000 to improve the war monument grounds.

With 537 names, the Vietnam War tablets will represent the largest contingency of Hull veterans in any war on the monument, which includes locals who served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War.

“I think everyone’s name that’s on the wall will really appreciate it,” said Burke, who was a Marine infantry rifleman in Vietnam. “It’s history. You don’t want people to forget what other folks did for them.”

The June 23 ceremony is scheduled to start at noon at Monument Square on Nantasket Avenue, and will feature Richard Neal, a Hull native and retired four-star Marine general, as the keynote speaker.

Burke said the commission will continue to raise funds after the event to eventually add the names of local veterans of the Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Katheleen Conti can be reached at kconti@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.
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