WASHINGTON — For many Vietnam veterans, coming to D.C. on Memorial Day is an annual tradition, but it’s a pilgrimage that never gets any easier.

More than four decades later, many of those who fought in the Vietnam War who visit The Wall are still overcome with emotion.

“You miss them. You know you’ll never see them again,” said former Marine Arthur Green.

Green said he was deployed for the Vietnam War in 1968 and came to the memorial on Monday to remember three of his combat brothers who didn’t make it home.

“These are our 58,000 somewhat heroes on this wall. They sacrificed everything for our freedom,” said Phillip Davis, who admits his memories of the war leave him with unimaginable emotions. “You don’t want to know.”

Other veterans walking alongside The Wall said it is impossible to understand their sorrow without having been to Vietnam.

Gene Harris described it as an “emptiness” and said he left a lot behind. Harris served multiple tours in Vietnam, the first in 1968.

“I try not to think of them as being on The Wall, but how I knew them before they got there,” he said.

Many of the veterans were given a hero’s welcome by visitors, some who asked if they could get a picture.

“Oh, it’s an honor,” said veteran T.C. Dawson.

WNEW’s Chuck Carroll contributed to this report. Follow him and WNEW on Twitter.

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