Vietnam vet honors familiar name on wall
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- During his first ever trip to the wall, one Vietnam vet honored an all too familiar name on the wall.
The name--his own--Robert Berta.
A Robert D. Berta was born the same year (1946) as this vet, Robert L. Berta--also in South Bend.
They served overseas at the same time, where the former was killed in action.
“Scary considering I was there at the same time. We could have, we didn’t know who was going to be coming home, me or him. It seemed like I made it and he didn’t. and we never think that way. We figure we should be there, too on this wall, because we all did our job. Maybe I should have been on this wall myself, so that’s the way I feel about it," said Robert L. Berta.
He wrote his namesake a letter to leave at the base of his name that reads as follows:
"To Robert D. Berta. We never met. My name is also Robert L. Berta. I was also born in South Bend, Indiana the same year as you. We were in Vietnam at the same time. You didn't come home. That is why I'm leaving this coin from our VVA group and the Vietnam veterans pin. This is my first time in Washington, D.C. That's why I'm a little nervous coming to the wall. Your fellow Vietnam veteran, Robert D. Berta."
"I didn’t know if I’d make it here, but I did. Oh wow. I’m glad I left you this. This is for you not coming back. You’re part of our group now by me giving you the coin, so that’s good," said Berta, staring at his comrade's name.
Kneeling, he placed his hand on the wall, saying, "May I meet you one day when I get up there to see you. And to all of you guys that are here, may we meet you one day when we get up here, all of us Vietnam veterans.”