Groundbreaking Ceremonies for Monument Honoring Texas Vietnam War Veterans

Mar 24, 2013

Media Contact: Cheryl Fries   512-657-7880 or [email protected]
High-resolution photographs and HD b-roll of the monument and dog tags  in production are available upon request.

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 at

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will honor all Texans who served in the Armed Forces in the Vietnam War, which officially ended 50 years ago. The 3,417 Texas Heroes of the war will be individually remembered by the entombment of personalized dog tags bearing their name, rank, branch of service, hometown and date of loss.

U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veterans Don Dorsey and James Hart are hand-stamping each tag.  The tags will be dedicated for entombment during the Groundbreaking, then carried in vintage military vehicles accompanied by Patriot Guard and Combat Veteran Motorcycle Riders to Bastrop. The people of Bastrop will host a Receiving Ceremony at 2:00 p.m. at the Deep in the Heart Art Foundry where the bronze monument is being built.  The monument, now in the clay stage of production, will be available for public viewing at the foundry.  A duplicate set of the Hero Tags will be displayed for the public in the Texas Vietnam Heroes exhibit.

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument was approved by the Texas legislature in 2005.  Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and Representative Wayne Smith, both Vietnam veterans, co-sponsored the legislation.  “The monument will be here at the Capitol both to honor those who have given their lives for their country, and to welcome home those who came back,” said Hinojosa.  “This event is an important reminder that many Texans made the supreme sacrifice during their service in the Armed Forces in Vietnam,” Smith added.

The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will be dedicated in the next twelve months. Please visit to learn more.


  • The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument was approved in House Current Resolution 36 of the 79th Regular Legislature of Texas in 2005.
  • The monument’s mission is to create a permanent tribute to the Texans who answered the nation’s call during the Vietnam War, a perpetual honor of their commitment and valor, and an abiding reminder of the lessons they have to teach us.
  • The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee consists of Texas Vietnam veterans who have volunteered to raise funds and build the monument.
  • The monument is currently in production at the Deep in the Heart Art Foundry in Bastrop, Texas.  It is slated for dedicate in the coming months.
  • The monument artist is Duke Sundt.  A complete description of the monument design can be found at
  • More than 500 Texas individuals, corporations, foundations and veteran organizations have contributed funds to build the monument and the Texas State Historical Commission has provided a $500,000 matching grant. To date, $1.3 million has been raised.
  • The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will be the first on the Capitol grounds to represent the five major ethnicities of Texans.  It will also be the first to incorporate mobile device access to a “living monument” app so visitors can learn more about the monument and the Texans who served in Vietnam.
  • The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument will pay special tribute to the 3,417 Texans who died in Vietnam.  Each man will be remembered on a personalized dog tag, hand-stamped by Texas veterans, which will be entombed in the monument.
  • The Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit will provide a public display of duplicate 3,417 dog tags.  The exhibit will travel the state after its opening exhibition at the LBJ Library in Austin.
  • More than 200 volunteers will participate in the Groundbreaking events by reading names and participating in the ceremonies.

More information is available at