WORCESTER (CBS) – Forty-eight years after the last US combat troops departed the war zone in Vietnam, a powerful show of reverence and gratitude from President Joe Biden to heroes and families.

“That war has left such a stain on our country. For so many veterans they’ve never been able to receive a welcome home,” the president said.

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Visiting the memorial with the First Lady on this National Vietnam War Veterans Day, President Biden traced the name of Worcester native Dennis F. Shine. Shine’s son and namesake remembered their family’s devastating loss the summer of 1969.

U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. First Lady Jill Biden visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 29, 2021.. (Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“We weren’t quite sure how to navigate losing a dad in a war that no one wanted to talk about,” said Dennis Shine.

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Shine, who has lived in DC for decades, has found healing through the Sons and Daughters in Touch organization. He also credits his mother Geri, widowed at 21 with two babies.

“She’s an amazing woman and we’re forever grateful for all the things she’s done,” he said.

The Shines have celebrated their dad for years at the Worcester pool named for him. This presidential gesture – a new family treasure.

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“It’s a sign. One of those God instances. We live our lives and do everything we can on a daily basis to be good people. When something like this happens I think we all kind of stop,” Shine said. “It’s a proud family moment. A Gold Star family moment for sure. Very, very proud.”

Juli McDonald