Fallen Vietnam War veterans gone but not forgotten with memorial - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Fallen Vietnam War veterans gone but not forgotten with memorial

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In their movements, there is a respectful, almost hallowed tone. The work they do demands it. Grayed by time, they too were soldiers once - Marines.

40 odd years after the war time served, their mission continues in a house near Bastrop.

From the hands of James Hart and Don Dorsey come near exact replications of dog tags worn by Texans who did not return from Vietnam.

The lost.

"I'm visiting each guy, you know, I'm saying hello, hey I'm sorry you are gone, but you are remembered," said Dorsey.

"This is personal with each letter we are memorializing them," he added, deliberately imprinting name, rank and home town on the small metal plates.

3,714 sons and daughters of the Lone Star State.

"That's our job as veterans to remember them well," said Dorsey.

Side by side they now hang, a brilliant and very intimate representation of sacrifice.

Together they form the Vietnam Heroes Memorial Exhibit set for dedication at Austin's Lyndon Baines Johnson presidential library.

Wayne Aurich from Hockley will be there.

"There were many of us who came home from Vietnam and went in the closet for 20 years. I know I did, but I'm out of there now," said Aurich.

A U.S. Army "Dustoff" crew member aboard medical evacuation helicopters, Aurich is beyond certain that among the tags are names of those whose bodies he helped lift from the battlefield.

On Sunday, he will solemnly read 30 names of fallen fellow Texans those who offered what Lincoln called "the last true measure".

"Their lives are a part of me. They are in my memory. They won't go away," said Aurich.

On Monday, March 25, at the Texas Capitol ground will be broken for a permanent Vietnam Veterans Memorial more than 50 years after the first life was lost.

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will celebrate its Groundbreaking on March 24 and 25 in Austin with a special tribute to the Texans who died in the Vietnam War. "We invite all Texans, especially Vietnam veterans and their families, to participate in these public events to honor our fallen heroes," said Robert Floyd, who chairs the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument committee.

Sunday, March 24 - A Reading of the Names of the 3,417 Texans who died in Vietnam conducted by more than 110 volunteers will be held at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library from 8:30 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. On the same day, the Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit of 3,417 hand-stamped dog tags honoring each Texan will open in the Great Hall of the LBJ Library. Parking and admission at the Library are free. An evening reception for veterans and families will be held at 6:00 p.m. at Austin's historic Scholz Garten. Several family members of Texans killed in the Vietnam War will be participating in both the Reading of the Names and the reception. Hundreds of Texas Vietnam veterans from across the state are expected to attend.

Monday, March 25 - The monument Groundbreaking Ceremony will take place on the Texas Capitol Grounds at 10:00 a.m. Texan Joe Galloway, the combat correspondent whose best-selling book We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, recounts the battle for which he was the only civilian awarded the Bronze Star with a 'V" for Valor, will deliver the keynote address. Ms. Karoni Forrester, the Texas State Coordinator of the National League of families, will also speak. Forrester's father, U.S. Marine Corps pilot Captain Ronald Wayne Forrester was shot down in Vietnam and remains among those listed as Missing In Action. Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson will serve as the Master of Ceremonies. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Full information, including information about special hotel rates and how to make reservations for the reception, is available by visiting http://buildthemonument.org/groundbreaking-events.

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