Dedication of Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument
For Immediate Release 3/18/14
THOUSANDS EXPECTED TO ATTEND DEDICATION OF CAPITOL MONUMENT
HONORING TEXAS VIETNAM VETERANS
Unveiling and “Welcome Home Fair” scheduled Sat. March 29th 10:00 – 3:00 at the Capitol
Austin: Forty-one years to the day after the last American combat troops left Vietnam and nine years after the effort began, the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will be dedicated in a 10:00 a.m. ceremony Saturday, March 29th at the Texas State Capitol. Governor Rick Perry will accept the monument on behalf of the state. The event is free and open to the public.
The ceremony will include the participation of veterans, family members, active-duty military, Texas school children and elected officials. The monument honoring all Texans who served in Vietnam will be unveiled and a special tribute will be made to the 3,417 Texans who died or are unaccounted for in Vietnam. A “Welcome Home Fair” including Vietnam War equipment displays and an exhibition of 3,417 personalized dog tags remembering Texas’ Vietnam War lost will take place in and around the Capitol.
More than 3,000 Vietnam veterans and family members from across the state are expected to attend the event. In addition to Governor Perry, speakers will include –
· U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson of Dallas, an Air Force aviator who was held captive and tortured as Prisoner of War in Vietnam for seven years;
· Lieutenant General Mick Kicklighter, Director of the United States 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War;
· State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and State Representative Wayne Smith, Vietnam veteran legislators who co-sponsored the monument authorization legislation;
· Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst;
· Robert Floyd, Chairman of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee.
Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte will introduce the memorial tribute, which will include students from Edgewood Memorial High School and wreaths presented by the families of Texans killed and missing in Vietnam, the Texas Vietnamese community, and the Texas legislature. The United States Army 36th Infantry Band and the Texas Children’s Choir will perform. A Joint Base San Antonio Joint Force Color Guard and Native American veterans of the Lone Star Hethuska Society will also participate. Ms. Karoni Forrester, representing the 3,417 Texas families, will be Mistress of Ceremonies. Ms. Forrester’s father is missing in action.
“The dedication of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will be a long overdue ‘welcome home’ for a generation of veterans who served during a divisive time in our nation,” said Robert Floyd, chair of the monument committee. “This monument will stand forever in honor of Texans who served with courage, skill and dignity, some at the cost of their lives, when their country asked them to do so.”
The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument was approved in 2005 by the 79th Legislature to honor Texans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam and to remember those who died. It will be accompanied by an online mobile tour to enhance visitors’ understanding of the monument and allow them to meet Texans who served in the war. The monument was designed by artist Duke Sundt. Finishing artists Clint Howard and Jake Jakovich sculpted the final details. It was produced at the Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop.
Vietnam veterans who volunteered to serve on the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee raised the necessary funds and managed the monument production. The monument cost $2.2 million. For more information visit www.buildthemonument.org.
Media Information – Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Dedication
Media Contact: Cheryl Fries 512-657-7880, firstname.lastname@example.org
The monument is located on the northeast Capitol grounds near 14th and Brazos.
Please go to the Media Check In for credentials.
Broadcast and print news media will have priority access to designated media areas.
All equipment must be inspected and cleared by DPS before 8:00 a.m.
Media riser, mult box and limited-space ground-level filming area will be provided.
Access to and around the monument may be restricted during the ceremony.
The Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit of 3,417 dog tags will be in the Lower Rotunda of the Capitol.
Vietnam helicopters, military vehicles and other vintage equipment will be displayed on the east grounds and on Brazos between 12th & 13th Streets.
Additional Facts – Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument
American military advisors began serving in Vietnam in the 1950s and the U.S. had a troop presence into the 1970’s. At the height of the war in 1968, a half million Americans were serving in Vietnam.
There is no accurate record of the number of Texans who served in Vietnam, but the Texas Veterans Commission estimates around 500,000 Vietnam-era veterans now reside in Texas. The state had the third largest loss rate, second only to California and New York, with 3,417 – all men – killed or missing.
The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument honors all Texans who served in Vietnam. The centerpiece of the monument is five infantry figures. They are surrounded by panels depicting women who served, air power, blue water navy, brown water navy, artillery and helicopter forces. Another panels honors the people and military of South Vietnam.
Entombed inside the monument are personalized dog tags honoring each Texan who died or is missing. A duplicate set of these tags is displayed for the public in the Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit, which will be in the Lower Rotunda of the Capitol March 27 through April 7.
More than 600 individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations donated to build the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument.
The monument is the first on the Capitol grounds to depict the cultural diversity of Texas, as each infantry figure represents a different ethnic group. It is also the first to include a mobile tour to educate visitors about the monument and the war.