MCALLEN, Texas .- The Texas House of Representatives and Senate both passed resolutions proclaiming Saturday, April 9, 2011 as Welcome Home South Texas Vietnam Veterans Day, bringing the total number of proclamations for this historic event to 34 with more scheduled in the coming weeks. On April 9, thousands of veterans and others will attend an all-day tribute at the McAllen Convention Center. This free event opens its doors at 12:30 p.m.
Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr., D-Palmview, co-authored HCR 56 with the entire Valley Legislative delegation, which passed on Tuesday. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-Mission, successfully sponsored the legislation in the Senate on Wednesday. Passage of Tuesday's resolution was followed by a reception at the Capitol with special guest, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. Both Hinojosa and Patterson are Vietnam veterans. Patterson has been a staunch supporter of Valley veterans and is Chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board. Munoz is a member of the Texas Veterans Caucus.
"This is a long overdue tribute to our veterans; we're glad to have been a part of it here at the Capitol," said Representative Muñoz.
Senator Hinojosa. who served as squad leader in the United States Marine Corps from 1966 to 1968 , said he was honored to sponsor the legislation.
“I understand the sacrifices that were made and the pain that still exists for many. I am proud to be a part of this endeavor and I look forward to this special tribute," said Senator Hinojosa.
LZ:RGV - Welcome Home South Texas Vietnam Veterans will provide education, information and resources to veterans and their families, many of whom are low income or live in poverty. In addition to the veteran resources and services, other activities include a locally produced play on the South Texas Vietnam War experience called "Pat and Lyndon," poetry readings, photography, videos, guest speakers, the traveling Vietnam War “Healing” Memorial, a military vehicle exhibit, and a Vietnam War era music tribute led by General Richard Sanchez and featuring recording artists Carlos Guzman, Freddy Martinez, Sunny Ozuna and other special guests. There is a special tribute planned for other veterans of foreign wars as well.
In addition to the State proclamations, LZ:RGV has also received proclamations from Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy and Zapata counties; the cities of Alamo, Alton, Brownsville, Donna, Edcouch, Edinburg, Escobares, Granjeno, Harlingen, Hidalgo, La Joya, Lyford, McAllen, Mercedes, Palmhurst, Pharr, Penitas, Port Isabel, Raymondville, Rio Grande City, Roma, San Juan, Sullivan City, and Weslaco; and the McAllen and Edinburg Independent School Districts.
On April 9, 2011, all five county communities of South Texas are invited to meet at the McAllen Convention Center to welcome home our Vietnam War era Veterans. The Vietnam Veterans of South Texas were not given the welcome home acknowledgement that they justly deserved. This event is intended to recognize all Vietnam War era Veterans in South Texas as well as honor the many that were killed-in-action and missing-in-action. Prisoners-of-war and those wounded while fighting for our country will also be honored. LZ:RGV will have three main components: proclamation, education and celebration. This living memorial offers many the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the sacrifices many veterans made with an event filled with information, exhibits, media, speakers and live music. For more information about the event, how to contribute photos and stories, and to make a gift donation, please visit lzrgv.com.