KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) A sweeping Vietnam memorial was erected Friday at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.
(Photo by Sam DeLeon)
Salado Vietnam veteran and renowned sculptor Troy Kelly spent two years planning and designing the massive wall.
“It's an honor to the Vietnam veterans and it’s long overdue," said Kelley.
There are four state veterans cemeteries in Texas, one in Abilene, Mission, Corpus Christi and Killeen.
This is the first Vietnam memorial raised in a Texas veteran's cemetery.
"It is nice to see that the American public is beginning to recognize the American soldier goes to war, he doesn't go to war for apple pie and waving the flag and ‘rah rah rah.’ He goes to war because he was told to," Vietnam veteran Larry Shatto said.
The Texas memorial was designed to look like a smaller version of the national wall in Washington, D.C.
But instead of names it is covered with facts about the war and quotes from local Vietnam veterans.
The idea was to let veterans say in writing what they couldn’t say out loud.
"So it's a historical and almost like a graffiti wall for the Vietnam vets," said Kelley.
Many Vietnam veterans and family members were moved when the first panel was installed and they say it's nice to have a local memorial.
"It's extremely moving and now we don't have to go to Washington DC to see the real wall we can see something that represents the same thing right here in Central Texas," said Shatto
The memorial wall will be officially unveiled at 10 a.m. on Aug. 28.