Ruby Benton-Yates holds a photo of her brother Henry Benton who died in Vietnam on May 21, 1966 while serving in the U.S. Army. (Jim Rassol, Sun Sentinel / August 4, 2013)

By Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel
4:51 a.m. EDT, August 5, 2013

Since it opened in 1982, perhaps no monument in the U.S. has evoked more sadness, and drawn more tears, than the black granite wall in the nation's capital known as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Until recently, however, nearly half of the more than 58,000 names inscribed on the wall have been faceless — unaccompanied by any archival photo or biography that tells the story of who those soldiers, Marines and airmen were.

Among the undocumented are some 1,100 men and women from Florida, including 144 from Broward and Palm Beach counties.

But now, the faces and stories of Lance Cpl. Robert Irwin, 20, of Hollywood, fellow Marine Lance Cpl. Walter "Bucky" Gierman II, 21, from Lake Worth, and others are being collected thanks to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund's "Call For Photos."

It is part of Faces Never Forgotten, a nationwide campaign to gather photographs of service members whose names are inscribed on the Washington memorial.

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