BOSTON (WHDH) - A group of 12 local Vietnam War veterans on Friday boarded a train at South Station headed for Washington, D.C. to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetary.

The men are making the visit as part of their mission to heal, and to remember those who never came home.

“I never forget them, I can’t sleep sometimes at night,” said four-time purple heart recipient Bobby Fairbairn.

Fairbairn was shot 17 times during his time fighting in the war, and has a bullet in his heart that cannot be removed. His life was saved by Dedham veteran John Barnes, who threw himself on a grenade to protect Fairbairn.

Though this is a return visit for Fairbairn, he will be joined by other veterans who are visiting the site for the first time.

“It’s gonna be tough,” said veteran Don Jussaume. Jussaume had put off the visit for years, afraid it would stir up memories and emotions he had buried for decades.

The trip was arranged by Lowell-based organization Veterans Assisting Veterans to thank the men for their service.

“This is our opportunity to thank them, but it’s also an opportunity for a group of Vietnam vets, many of whom have never met each other before, to share common experiences,” said

This trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will likely be Fairbairn’s last, as he is currently suffering from brain cancer.

“It’s very important,” he said. “Nobody should ever forget what the fallen brothers did in every war.”

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