The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument held its groundbreaking ceremonies on Monday, March 25. The monument, which will honor the service of Texans who served in the military during the Vietnam War—including the 3, 417 who died in service—will have a prominent place on the grounds of the state Capitol in Austin.
The day before the groundbreaking, scores of volunteers participated in a Reading of the Names of the 3, 417 at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. The volunteer readers included President Johnson’s daughters Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb, several Texas lawmakers, and many veterans and family members of those who died.
At the groundbreaking ceremony itself a container carrying personalized, hand-embossed dog tags for each of the 3, 4176 was entombed. Journalist and author Joe Galloway, a Texas native who received the VVA Excellence in the Arts Award in 1999, delivered the Keynote address.
The monument itself, designed by New Mexico sculptor Duke Sundt, is in the final stages of production. The 14-foot tall bronze monument (below ) will feature five infantry figures posed atop an eight-sided base depicting scenes in bas relief. “They represent diversity, ” said Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Committee Chairman Robert Floyd. “It will be the first monument to represent diversity: a Hispanic-American, African-American, Asian, Native-American and Caucasian.”