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Push to remember fallen Vietnam sailors

Posted at 8:59 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 08:58:23-04

In Washington DC, 58,286 names are etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, a reminder of those who never came home.

"I looked out my window and there were two men dressed in Navy uniforms walking up to my door, I knew right away, that was it."

MaryAnn Buettner is recalling the day in 1969 when she was informed of her son's death aboard the USS Frank E. Evans. Terry Lee Henderson was only 21-years-old.

The destroyer he was on was split in half during a training exercise in the South China Sea.  ut you won't find Terry's name on the wall, or those of the 73 other sailors who died that day.

Their names don't appear because military officials say the accident occurred outside the war zone. Now, Senator Charles Schumer is fighting for their right to be remembered.

"We have the Secretary of the Navy on our side," said Schumer, "and now it is on the desk of the Department of Defense and that's where we're going to make our final push."

The Senator visited with Henderson's mother and brother down in Chautauqua County on Tuesday to give them the update.

"It's only a bit of justice, it's a bit of fairness, it's a bit of remembrance," said Schumer. 

"I think all the boys should be on that wall, all of them," added Buettner.