Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Rep. Wayne Smith Present First Donated Funds to Build Vietnam Memorial on Capitol Grounds
Austin -- Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and Representative Wayne Smith joined fellow Vietnam veterans Thursday at the State Capitol to donate funds to finance a Vietnam memorial on the Texas Capitol grounds.
The legislators have formed a nonprofit organization to collect private donations to finance the memorial dedicated to Texas Veterans of the Vietnam War. Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, former first lady, has agreed to serve as Honorary Co-chair of fundraising efforts for the Capitol of Texas Vietnam Memorial Committee.
Each legislator gave a $1,000 donation Thursday toward building the monument.
"What I envision is a monument that shows the diversity and backgrounds of the soldiers who went to Vietnam," said Senator Hinojosa, who served as a Marine Squad Leader in Vietnam. "This memorial feels like a coming home to me. When we returned from Vietnam they tried to sweep us under the rug, as if we didn't exist. Right or wrong, we were American soldiers representing our country in battle. The way we were treated when we came back was shameful."
In May 2005, during the 79th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, Senator Hinojosa and Representative Smith sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 36 authorizing a Vietnam War monument on the Capitol grounds.
The Committee will begin interviewing potential artists and architects after the holidays. "We have no particular artist and design in mind," Representative Smith said. "We aren't looking for anything elaborate, but something with dignity that reflects the sacrifices of those who served our country in Vietnam."
"I have to admit that I became very emotional when passing the resolution in the House," Representative Smith said.
The cost of erecting and maintaining the memorial will be $250,000 to $350,000. Senator Hinojosa and Representative Smith will serve as co-chairs of the committee.
Donations to the Texas Capitol Vietnam Memorial Committee can be sent to PO Box 2184 Austin Texas 78768-2184