Local and national efforts are continuing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, an effort that will last until 2025, 50 years after the war ended with the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Much of the local effort — spearheaded by Central Texas Area Veterans Advisory Committee and other veterans groups — has revolved around commemoration coins being sold by the committee.
The military-style coins, selling for $10 each, will go to fund events and programs that will commemorate the war.
About 1,700 coins have sold, said Marty Martinez, the secretary for the committee and a Vietnam veteran.
“We still have coins available,” said Martinez, adding about 1,200 coins are still available.
The coin features an outline of North and South Vietnam, along with an image of the green, yellow and red Vietnam Service Ribbon earned by troops who fought in the war. On the flip side, the emblems of the military branches surround an outline of Texas, and the words “All gave some, some gave all” are seen near the edge.
The coins can be purchased at the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce, 552 E. Farm-to-Market 2410 in Harker Heights, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9192, 301 Wolf St. in Killeen and the 1st Cavalry Division Museum at Fort Hood, Martinez said.
For more information on the coins, or to order directly from Martinez, call him at 254-338-6722.
Local events being planned to honor Vietnam veterans include the Veterans Day parade in Killeen; a free dinner at Fort Hood for Vietnam veterans on the Saturday before Veterans Day; and the establishment of a new monument at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.
The secretary of defense chose 2015-2017 for organizations and individuals to register, assist and participate in the 50th anniversary with support from the national level and to become an official partner with the national effort, officials said.
On the national level, the commemorative program is accepting applications from organizations that want to be an official partner.
“Commemorative Partners must commit to conduct at least two events each year during the period of 2015 - 2017 that will recognize, thank and honor our Vietnam veterans and their families,” according to the commemoration website,
The national program has also enlisted the help of longtime war journalist Joe Galloway, who covered 1st Cavalry Division’s Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in 1965. Galloway was at Fort Hood earlier this summer recording oral histories of Vietnam War veterans and is doing the same thing around the nation. Those oral histories will eventually become videos avaible for view on the commemoration’s website.