San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 24th, 2009
Veteran's Day celebration includes screening of two films

Two film screenings precede the city’s Veterans Day celebration.


The screening of two documentary films about the war in Vietnam will precede the Veteran’s Day celebration in San Marcos. The movies will be shown on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 at the VFW Hall, home of Maurice Suttles VFW Post 3413, 1701 Hunter Road. Admission to both movies is free.

The films will be shown outdoors, barring inclement weather, and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.

“A Touch of Home” is the story of the 627 brave young women who worked for the Red Cross during the Vietnam War. Known as “Donut Dollies,” a term originating in WWII, the women, who brought bags full of games and smiles to lonesome G.I.s, held the most forward battlefield operating positions for females in American military history. The film contains home movie footage taken by soldiers and the Red Cross girls. It was directed and produced by Patrick and Cheryl Fries, who have made several films on the Vietnam War.

The 1967 Red Cross recruitment ad read, in part, “Are you creative? Could you develop an interesting program on travel, holidays, sports, music, or current events? The American Red Cross needs qualified young women who are willing to serve one year overseas.” The young women were required to have college degrees. The recruitment ad cautions, “The job requires considerable ingenuity and a capacity for hard work under far less than ideal conditions.”

“A Touch of Home” will be shown at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.

The second film, “An Ocean Away,” tells the story of the repatriation and return of Donald Matocha to his family after his death in Vietnam in 1968. It shows the journey of his sisters, Loretta and Linda, and fellow Marines from his reconnaisance patrol “Team Dallas Girl,” to Dong Ha Mountain, where he died. His sister, Loretta Matocha Eiben, is a San Marcos resident. The movie is another Fries production.

“An Ocean Away” will be shown at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5.

The plans for the San Marcos city celebration on Nov. 7 include the traditional parade down Hopkins street. The street will be closed to through traffic from 8 a.m.-noon between Charles Austin Drive and Fredericksburg Street.

Entries are still being sought for the parade. This year, parade entries will line up on Hopkins Street in front of the Activity Center.

At 8:30 a.m., the much-loved free biscuits and gravy will be served at the courthouse square. Serving will continue until the food is gone. Hosting the breakfast are the San Marcos Main Street Program and Cafe’ on the Square.

Kids ages five and older are invited to bring their bicycles to the courthouse lawn from 9-10 a.m. San Marcos Kiwanis Club members will help youngsters decorate their bikes with free flags and streamers so that they can be part of the Kiwanis Club’s Kids Bicycle Brigade in the parade. Club members will also serve as parade escorts. Bicycles, with and without training wheels, and scooters are welcome.

Eleven local veterans are nominated for parade Grand Marshall. A non-affiliated committee of volunteers is reviewing the list of nominees and an announcement of who will serve as Grand Marshall is forthcoming this week.

San Marcos CISD’s plans for Veteran’s Day are currently not complete, but the fifth grade teachers at Irene Mendez Elementary, led by Brenda Butler, are working with their students to make posters in tribute to veterans.

Texas State is celebrating Veteran’s Day on the designated day, Nov. 11, with a ceremony on the Quad at 10:45 a.m. The guest speaker is Brig. General Randall Starbuck, U.S. Air Force, retired, who oversaw the preparation and launching of U.S. satellites from Cape Canaveral. The General is a past recipient of the Texas State Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The Student Foundation sponsors this yearly ceremony. Local non-affiliated veterans are welcomed to attend. There will be reserved parking for veterans and their families, as well as shuttles to take them to the Quad.

For more information on the City of San Marcos’ Veteran’s Day activities, contact Linda Morris at Parks and Recreation in the Grant Harris Building, 401 East Hopkins Street, or call her at (512) 393-8400.

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