Honoring America's disabled veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. - They tested the flame this morning, getting ready for Sunday's dedication.

"It basically is a memorial that tells you of the terrifying consequences of any war," said Dennis Joyner, who lost three limbs to a booby-trap in Vietnam.

A picture of a little girl pushing her father in a wheelchair is the one that resonates most for Joyner. His sons had to do the same for him.

"One of the things that I've always struggled with somewhat is I've never really felt that the general public really understands or understood what disabled veterans go through," said Joyner.

The name etched in granite - "American Veterans Disabled for Life" - makes a point the rest of us are liable to forget.

"When the last battle's fought, the last soldier comes home, the war is over, for millions of disabled veterans it's not over," said Joyner. "They're going to live the rest of their life continuing to deal with the effects of that war."

Some disabled veterans like Bob Dole, who was severely wounded in World War II, are well known first as a United States senator, and then as candidate for president.

Now his words - "It's faith that gives you the strength to endure" - are preserved on one of the memorial's glass panels.

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Joe Bacani

Right next to him is Joe Bacani.

"Oh that's humbling because I've always seen myself as just like a normal average Joe," said Bacani.

He was shot through the pelvis by a sniper in Iraq.

When asked if he thought his picture was a window to his soul, Bacani said, "I hope so and I hope people can see beyond the wheelchair that there's still a young man in there with many more years left to live, to make something out of himself."

Physical therapy enabled average Joe Bacani to get out of that wheelchair.

He is now a junior at Columbia University, and yes, he will be at the dedication on Sunday. His picture will be there forever, making sure the rest of us never forget.