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Foley won’t forget it, either.

“On the first visit, which I believed was going to be my only visit, I came strictly out of guilt,” he said.

That changed.

“I felt uplifted by the spirits of the servicemen,” he said. “And I didn’t do a lot of talking. They seemed to feel comfortable talking to me, maybe because I was on TV, week in and week out when they were teenagers. Then I would hear feedback from time to time about how one of my visits touched a soldier, and I felt like that was a way I could help out a little bit.”

Foley began his visit yesterday at Fort Myer in Arlington, the base for the units that oversee Arlington Cemetery. More than 150 people lined up for his autograph.

Airman Darrell Miller, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was ecstatic to come away with a photo of himself with his boyhood idol.

“He never gave up when he wrestled,” he said. “When I was a little kid, I wanted to be like Mick.”