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Air Force Master Sgt. Trevor Derr, from Dover AFB, Del., scrubs the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with a soft brush on Oct. 22, 2017.
Air Force Master Sgt. Trevor Derr, from Dover AFB, Del., scrubs the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with a soft brush on Oct. 22, 2017. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Air Force Master Sgt. Trevor Derr, from Dover AFB, Del., scrubs the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with a soft brush on Oct. 22, 2017.
Air Force Master Sgt. Trevor Derr, from Dover AFB, Del., scrubs the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with a soft brush on Oct. 22, 2017. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Washington Monument and the rising sun are reflected in the Vietnam  Veterans Memorial as a volunteer from Dover Air Force Base, Del., washes the Wall in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22, 2017.
The Washington Monument and the rising sun are reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a volunteer from Dover Air Force Base, Del., washes the Wall in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22, 2017. ( Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
An airman from Dover Air Force Base, Del., in Washington, D.C. to help clean the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is silhouetted against the rising sun on Oct. 22, 2017.
An airman from Dover Air Force Base, Del., in Washington, D.C. to help clean the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is silhouetted against the rising sun on Oct. 22, 2017. ( Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Washington Monument and the rising sun are reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as airmen from Dover Air Force Base, Del., use soft brushes and mild detergent to clean the Wall at sunrise on Oct. 22, 2017.
The Washington Monument and the rising sun are reflected in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as airmen from Dover Air Force Base, Del., use soft brushes and mild detergent to clean the Wall at sunrise on Oct. 22, 2017. ( Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — Before dawn last Sunday, a group of volunteers from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, joined in what has become a quiet tradition in the nation's capital — cleaning the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The airmen and one veteran — led by Master Sgt. Trevor Derr, APG section chief of the 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron — used mild detergent and soft brushes to carefully scrub the Wall, cleaning off dust and the fingerprints of hundreds of people whose touch provides a link between them and the more than 58,000 fallen men and women from the Vietnam War whose names are engraved there.

"We came down here today to help out, remember the veterans who didn't come home, and clean the wall," said Derr, whose team left Dover at 3:45 a.m. "It's a great chance to honor our vets and, at the same time, broaden our horizons."

Volunteer groups clean the Wall on Saturdays and Sundays between April and November, with permission from the National Park Service.

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