WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden paid tribute Monday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to mark the 48th anniversary of the departure of the last U.S. combat troops from the war zone.

March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day, which commemorates the date in 1973 when the U.S. Military Assistance Command in Vietnam was disestablished.

The Bidens made an unannounced trip and walked alongside one of the memorial’s famed long black granite walls, polished to a high finish and etched with the names of more than 58,000 Americans who died in the war.

The couple laid a bouquet of flowers and stood in silence. The president then traced the name of Dennis F. Shine, according to the White House.

It was not immediately clear why the president chose Shine, a 21-year-old Massachusetts man who was killed in Vietnam in 1969.

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