Gov. Rick Perry today paid tribute to Texas veterans who served or gave their lives in the Vietnam War at the unveiling and dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Monument on the Texas State Capitol Grounds. The ceremony was held on Texas Vietnam Veterans Day, which marks the anniversary of the day the last American combat troops left Vietnam.
"The monument we dedicate today will stand as an ongoing demonstration of the depth of our appreciation for the sacrifices of our Vietnam veterans, and a reminder of what is noble and good about the human spirit," Gov. Perry said. "It will stand as a declaration that in Texas, we understand how blessed we are to have warriors ready to step forward and draw a line between us and those who would do us harm."
The governor also highlighted the contributions of the Vietnamese nationals who fought alongside Americans in the war, many of whom went on to pursue U.S. citizenship and settle in Texas.
The monument, which sits on the northeast side of the Capitol grounds, was approved by the 79th Texas Legislature. State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and State Rep. Wayne Smith, both Vietnam veterans, authored the legislation. Entombed inside the monument are 3,417 dog tags personalized for the Texans who gave their lives or went unaccounted for in the war.
"As a Vietnam veteran for the U.S. Marine Corps, I understand the difficult sacrifices that our military families endure on a daily basis," Sen. Hinojosa said. "The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument honors and thanks our fallen Vietnam heroes and their families for their ultimate sacrifice of defending our freedom, and welcomes those who came home and fought with great courage and resilience. It is our hope that this monument will ensure that the memory of our Texas Vietnam Heroes lives on. Semper Fi."
"Most of our men and women who fought in Vietnam never received a hero's welcome or recognition for our service to our country and state," Rep. Smith said. "With today's dedication, we can finally say welcome home, and thanks for your sacrifice."
The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee oversaw the fundraising, design and production of the monument. It was funded fully through private donations, with more than 600 individual, organization and corporate donors.
For more information about the monument or the committee, please visit: http://buildthemonument.org/.