Chapter 1000 held the dedication ceremony for the Vietnam Memorial at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, TX in September.
The memorial and dedication ceremony were realized by the efforts of Chapter 1000 which raised $40,000 and provided the building materials for the monument’s construction, and which invested time and manpower to ensure its installation.
After two years of planning by sculptor and Vietnam veteran Troy Kelley, the monument was dedicated in a ceremony before 300 Vietnam veterans, military officials, and members of the community. The keynote speaker was Vietnam veteran Retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk Sr. He was a troop commander in 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment in the Vietnam War.
The words that greet visitors at the black granite monument are “Welcome Home, Brothers & Sisters” emblazoned in a large font across the top. Accompanying the welcome are quotes from Vietnam veterans. One of the most poignant quotes was contributed from Cliff Baldwin referencing wounded servicemen’s call for a helicopter during combat: “Dust-off, request urgent medevac, over”. The monument also has four-panels featuring the different armed forces seals, and bears a tribute section to POW/MIAs.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, the memorial is the first monument in Killeen for the Vietnam War, and the first in a veterans cemetery for the Lone Star State. More memorials are planned for the future. The Texas Veterans Land Board will donate land at state cemeteries for three additional Vietnam memorials in Abilene, Mission and Corpus Christi.
There are approximately 540,000 Vietnam veterans in Texas, and 37 Vietnam Veterans of America chapters in the state.
Photo courtesy: Gabe Wolf, The Killeen Daily Herald