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Fallen: 'Nothing got in his way'

By John Rutherford, Producer, NBC News, Washington

Names are still being added to the Vietnam Wall 33 years after the war's end.

The latest is that of Marine Lance Cpl. Raymond Mason, who died at age 58 of wounds suffered in 1968 during the Tet Offensive.

"He was shot right between the shoulder blades, and it nailed his spinal cord on the way through, and he was paralyzed from mid-chest down," his widow, Priscilla, said. "He had full use of his arms but lost everything else."

Confined to a wheelchair, Mason still managed to own four businesses over the years back home in Riverside, R.I.

"He took everything that was thrown at him and made the best of it and never felt sorry for himself, never whined or moped about it," Priscilla said. "Nothing got in his way."

But infections from his wounds eventually took their toll, and Mason died of septic shock two years ago today.

"He just kind of went to sleep, basically into a coma, and just never came out of it," Priscilla said.

Since his death was a direct result of his war wounds, Mason was eligible to become the 321st name added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial since its dedication in 1982. For Priscilla, last month's engraving ceremony was an emotional moment.

"To me, he was 19 years old again, and he was 6 foot 2, and he was with the best friends he ever had in his life once his name got put on that wall," she said.

There are now 58,260 names on the Vietnam Wall, and counting.

Click here to view tributes to the 207 service members who've died this year in the Middle East, including the following eight casualties from last week:

1. Army Pvt. Branden Haunert, 21, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

2. Army Master Sgt. Davy Weaver, 39, of Barnesville, Ga.

3. Army Pfc. Howard Jones, 35, of Chicago.

4. Marine Cpl. Justin Cooper, 22, of Eupora, Miss.

5. Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph Moore, 54, of Boise, Idaho.

6. Army 1st Lt. Jeffrey Deprimo, 35, of Pittston, Pa.

7. Navy Lt. Jeffrey Ammon, 37, of Orem, Utah.

8. Army Pfc. Kyle Norris, 22, of Zanesville, Ohio.

(Family photo shows Raymond Mason as an 18-year-old Marine and Defense Department photo shows Priscilla Mason making a rubbing of her husband's newly engraved name on the Vietnam Wall)

Washington Producer John Rutherford is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He also posts stories on the military at www.fieldnotes.msnbc.com (click on "John Rutherford" under "categories") and at http://john-rutherford.newsvine.com/. The tribute gallery can be found at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22802019/.