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

March 26th, 2014
Commissioners honor Vietnam War veterans in lead up to capitol monument dedication

COVER: County Judge Bert Cobb and Hays County commissioners on Tuesday present a proclamation declaring “Belated Welcome Home Texas Vietnam Veterans Day” to members of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 923. Pictured left to right are (front) Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe; Cobb, an U.S. Air Force veteran; San Marcos resident Barry Davis, an U.S. Navy veteran; Wimberley resident Gene Pittman, an U.S. Marine Corps veteran; Woodcreek resident Charlie Johnson, a, U.S. Navy veteran; Reedville resident Pedro Medina, an U.S. Army veteran; (back) Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley, Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant and Pct. 2 Commissioner Mark Jones. PHOTO by LAUREEN CHERNOW



STAFF REPORT

The Hays County Commissioners Court this week proclaimed March 29 as “Belated Welcome Home Texas Vietnam Veterans Day,” coinciding with the dedication on Saturday of a bronze sculpture on the Texas Capitol grounds honoring veterans of the 19-year war in southeast Asia.

A scale model of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument went on display in the Old Hays County Courthouse rotunda in May 2012 as part of supporters’ efforts to raise money for the sculpture.

A scale model of the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument went on display in the Old Hays County Courthouse rotunda in May 2012 as part of supporters’ efforts to raise money for the sculpture.

Members of a San Marcos-based chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, who helped raised private donations for the $2.2 million monument, were on-hand during the court’s regular session on Tuesday to accept the proclamation. Audience members gave the veterans a sustained, standing ovation.

About 3,400 Texans died serving during the Vietnam War, more than any state except California and New York; about 105 service members from Texas are still classified as “missing in action.” According to Texas Veterans Commission estimates, about a half-million Vietnam veterans now live in Texas.

Designed by New Mexico sculptor Duke Sundt, the 14-foot-tall Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument depicts an infantry patrol made up of a Caucasian, a Hispanic, an African-American, a Native American and an Asian American. The sculpture, cast at the Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop, sits on a base of pink granite affixed with panels honoring each branch of the U.S. military. The monument was funded with private donations matched by a grant from the Texas Historical Commission.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, March 29, on the northeast side of the capitol grounds in a stand of Live Oaks near the Peace Officers Memorial.

Events surrounding the dedication include a display in the capitol rotunda of 3,417 dog tags bearing the names of Texans who died in the war and an exhibition of Vietnam-era aircraft and military vehicles.

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