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Humble hero celebrates Alpine Veterans Wall of Honor

Dan Foster doesn't like to talk about fighting in the Vietnam War, choosing instead to memorialize America's heroes.

ALPINE, Calif. — Americans celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks and barbeques, but for one East County veteran every day of the year is Independence Day.  In this Zevely Zone, I visited the Alpine Veterans Wall of Honor.  

"This wall is all about reaching out and touching people," said Dan Foster who is about the last person you'd expect to build a military wall of honor. The humble hero reluctantly shares his memories from when he fought in the Vietnam War in the Army's 199th Infantry. "This is the southern part of Vietnam, this is all jungle," Dan said as he described a picture of him being dropped behind enemy lines from a helicopter. 

Credit: Alpine Veterans Wall of Honor

When the Vietnam veteran is asked to speak at high schools, he's often asked the same question. "Tell me your war story, tell me how many times you have been shot and how many people you shot. I say we are not going to do any of that," said Dan. Instead, he does his talking with the wall. "It is. This is how I do my crying, this is how I do my thinking about there are close to 1000 men and women on this wall," said Dan.  

Credit: Alpine Veterans Wall of Honor

On Memorial Day alone, they inducted 17 more heroes. "When we have these events, crying is a big part of it," said Dan. "We added them to our wall and it's a really big deal." Dan is a 100-percent disabled and doesn't want to talk about the agent orange that gave him cancer, but he does want to talk about our country and those who fought it. 

RELATED: Honor Flight 2022: Three days of pride and patriotism with military veterans

"I love this country, you never see me with a collared shirt where I do not have my flag on," said Dan.  "We have people from all over the United States of America on this wall. Men and women who served our country."

Credit: Alpine Veterans Wall of Honor

Dan built the wall for the living and the dead ten years ago. "What's happening at the Alpine Veterans Wall of Honor is that veterans are finally starting to realize that people do care," said Dan. For him it all all boils down to two words. "Just making sure we say thank you. It's needed in America. We just have to not forget," said Dan.

RELATED: 'Hero Homecoming' | Honor Flight 2022 returns to San Diego

The Alpine Veterans Wall of Honor has been such a success it will soon need to expand.  If you're interested in making a donation or having a loved one inducted, click here.

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