Groups organizing a huge dedication and celebration for thousands of the Valley’s Vietnam veterans are hoping the event brings a sense of closure once it kicks off next spring.
Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia, along with McAllen mayor Richard Cortez held a press conference on Dec. 1 to announce a welcome home celebration for South Texas Vietnam veterans scheduled for April 9, 2011 at the McAllen Convention Center.
The event, which will be called LZ: RGV, is now looking to honor more than 12,000 Vietnam veterans from South Texas. LZ is a common military abbreviation for landing zone.
“It’s going to bring closure to a lot of Vietnam veterans,” said Gus Garcia Sr., commander of Edinburg’s Freddy Gonzalez American Legion Post 408. The Post was the first to propose the event, and began taking steps over the course of one year to get it organized.
“It is going to be mentioned throughout the state, and people are going to take notice,” Garcia said. “I have got nothing but positive statements from veterans saying ‘this is long overdue’.”
A dedication is planned at the Veterans War Memorial located adjacent to the convention center before the days events take place. Daytime events will include lectures, exhibits, information booths, guest speakers and multimedia. A dedication for soldiers missing in action and killed in action is also planned along with a tribute to troops currently serving in conflicts overseas.
The celebration aspect of LZ: RGV is set to begin at 7 p.m., and will include tribute music by performers of the Vietnam War era.