Hundreds came out to the State Capitol Monday to break ground on the new Vietnam Veterans war memorial.
Land Commissioner Gary Patterson, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Mayor Lee Leffingwell spoke about the importance of honoring the veterans at the ground breaking.
The leaders said Vietnam-era vets never received the proper thanks.
"This memorial is about righting the wrongs in a time when soldiers were told ‘no’ to wear their uniforms when they came back from Vietnam,” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. “They were told to wear their civilian clothes so they wouldn’t be heckled or spat at."
The names of those 3,417 Texans who died in Vietnam will be engraved on the monument.
"It is still an honor that we received this recognition from the State of Texas. It makes us proud,” Vietnam veteran Raul Rosa said. “Yes, we served. We are proud. I always said proudly we served, no thanks needed, but now with this I say, thank you very much and we are happy we did our job."
The monument will be 14 feet tall and sit on the northeast corner of the Capitol grounds.
The model of the memorial and copy of all the soldiers’ dog tags that will be part of the monument are on display in the LBJ Library at the University of Texas. That exhibit will run Sunday through July.