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Gold Star Mother Emogene Cupp greets someone who stopped as they passed by on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017.
Gold Star Mother Emogene Cupp greets someone who stopped as they passed by on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Gold Star Mother Emogene Cupp greets someone who stopped as they passed by on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017.
Gold Star Mother Emogene Cupp greets someone who stopped as they passed by on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Emogene Cupp waits for the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017. Cupp is a Gold Star Mother. Her son, Cpl. Robert Cupp, was killed in action on June 1968. Next to her is another Gold Star mother: Ann Wolcott.
Emogene Cupp waits for the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017. Cupp is a Gold Star Mother. Her son, Cpl. Robert Cupp, was killed in action on June 1968. Next to her is another Gold Star mother: Ann Wolcott. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Gold Star Mothers - and all former presidents of American Gold Star Mothers Inc. - from left to right, Emogene Cupp, Ann Wolcott, Terry Davis (Gold Star mother, wife and sister), and Georgie Carter Krell (mother of Bruce Carter, Medal of Honor recipient).
Gold Star Mothers - and all former presidents of American Gold Star Mothers Inc. - from left to right, Emogene Cupp, Ann Wolcott, Terry Davis (Gold Star mother, wife and sister), and Georgie Carter Krell (mother of Bruce Carter, Medal of Honor recipient). (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Vietnam Wall, Memorial Day, May 29, 2017
Vietnam Wall, Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Gold Star Mothers walk at the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017.
Gold Star Mothers walk at the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Gold Star Mother's walk at the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017.
Gold Star Mother's walk at the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Emogene Cupp walks along the Vietnam Wall at the start of the Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017.
Emogene Cupp walks along the Vietnam Wall at the start of the Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Boots at the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017.
Boots at the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Ken Burns chats before the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017.
Ken Burns chats before the start of the Vietnam Wall Memorial Day ceremony on May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Dennis Mason chats with a reporter from ABC and another Vietnam veteran  near the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2017.
Dennis Mason chats with a reporter from ABC and another Vietnam veteran near the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Dennis Mason and his wife Juliet pose near the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2017.
Dennis Mason and his wife Juliet pose near the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Dennis Mason and his wife Juliet pose near the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2017.
Dennis Mason and his wife Juliet pose near the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C., on May 29, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Georgie Carter Crell, mother of Bruce Carter, places a flower at the Vietnam Wall. Carter was killed in Vietnam and recieved the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Georgie Carter Crell, mother of Bruce Carter, places a flower at the Vietnam Wall. Carter was killed in Vietnam and recieved the Medal of Honor for his actions. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — In early June of 1968, U.S. Army Cpl. Robert William Cupp was killed by a booby trap in South Vietnam . He was laid to rest on his 21st birthday, June 17, in his family’s plot in Alexandria, Va.

Almost 50 years later, his mother, 97-year-old Emogene Cupp, paid tribute to him Monday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“He loved baseball. He was in the Little League,” she recalled before the start of the annual Memorial Day ceremony. “He was a shortstop.”

Sitting in the shade, next to three other Gold Star mothers, she reflected on her son’s short life. In addition to baseball, he loved cars — especially his black Ford Fairlane.

In 2002, on a trip to Vietnam with another Gold Star Mother, Cupp visited the place where her son died, and placed a wreath there. “It was very interesting. He wrote home how pretty it was,” she said. “I could see where he had been.”

“Always so many (memories)," she said. "He was the only son I had.”

Every year for a decade, Dennis Mason has visited the Vietnam Wall on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

“I kept to myself” after Vietnam, Mason said — until one day when he went online and found a page devoted to his very own unit. Now, he can’t get enough of it.

A combat medic, Mason lost both his legs in Vietnam in 1967, and spent a year recovering in the hospital. Afterwards, his best friend introduced him to his wife — and to the wife’s sister, Juliet, who was single.

Now married, Juliet and Dennis Mason preferred to listen to Monday's Vietnam ceremony from afar, away from the crowds and in the welcoming shade.

“I think the whole purpose is the names on the Wall. We’re here for that,” Mason said.

tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com Twitter: mjtibbs

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