AUSTIN (KXAN) — In Texas, the governor and others are remembering veterans through tales of bravery and recognition of sacrifice, and this year there is a new way to pay them tribute.
Gov. Greg Abbott, alongside Texas Veterans Commission Chairman Al Cantu and Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars State Junior Vice Commander Dick Shawver, revealed a special Texas edition of a book commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Both Cantu and Shawver served in Vietnam.
“I can remember in 1970 coming home from Vietnam,” Shawver said. “One thing we’ve learned is we’re able to separate the veterans from the conflicts. Back then, we put everything together, so if you was in the conflicts, you were disliked. Today we support our troops and support our conflicts.”
Vietnam War veterans are considered to be anyone who served between November 1, 1955, and May 15, 1975.
Cantu served from 1967 to ’68 and said “We don’t select which wars we want to participate in. They select us, and we go and do our job.”
“I’m extremely grateful to see that after so many years, we’re finally recognized with a book of our own,” Cantu said.
The book is called “A Time to Honor: Stories of Service, Duty, and Sacrifice” and is free for veterans who served during the Vietnam War. They can contact the Texas Veterans Commission to get a copy.
“The book details heroic actions taken and sacrifices made in Vietnam, chronicles the events of the time, provides modern day reflections of veterans, and pays tribute to all who served in Vietnam,” according to a release from the governor’s office.
“Some warriors who were on the front lines paying their dues and their duty to the United States in the Vietnam war did not return home with the same type of gratitude they deserved to have recognized,” Abbott said. “This book is a tribute to that service.”
Abbott said the book is also a jumping off point to make sure Vietnam veterans get access to the support they earned through service. Abbott noted veterans don’t always use the benefits provided to them by Texas and the federal government.
“You all served on the front lines — you deserve to go to the front of the lines in receiving the benefits you deserve,” Abbott said.
According to 2015 data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, there were 1,603,328 total veterans in Texas at that time. More than 505,000 of them served during the Vietnam era.