For Memorial Day, St. Cloud vet seeks photos of Minn. soldiers who served in Vietnam


For one Minnesota veteran, Memorial Day is not merely a weekend, but a year-round remembrance.

The St. Cloud Times offers a portrait of an Army veteran from St. Cloud who "is on a mission" to obtain more than 500 photographs of Minnesota service members who died because of the Vietnam War.

Robert Ahles, the paper says, thought it was "the least he could do for his fallen comrades."

The 66-year-old husband and grandfather of two is working his way through the cities and towns of Minnesota, the paper reports, with the help of local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, city officials, media and surviving relatives in locating photos of the deceased. He began in January.

More than a thousand Minnesotans were killed during the Vietnam War, and about half do not have photographs posted at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, according to Ahles.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is working on building an education center near the memorial with the goal of opening in 2014, according to the Associated Press. Each of the 58,000 fallen soldiers listed on the Vietnam memorial wall will be pictured in the center with details about their lives.

"I felt that all the veterans who died over there deserve the same recognition," Ahles tells the St. Cloud Times. "When we came back, we were treated poorly ... but people have kind of recognized our service now."

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