East Texans are gathering to remember those who never made it home after war and the families they left behind.
The East Texas Salute takes place at the American Freedom Museum where a temporary Vietnam Veteran wall is put up, listing all the names of service members killed at war.
“It’s important to remember them because it’s our heritage,” says Veteran and coordinator of the event, Don Allen. “It’s what got us here today. We are the sum of all the people who have sacrificed for us all throughout history.”
There’s also a ceremony honoring Gold-Star mothers.
“That is a group of women who have lost sons and daughters in the service, so they have this special burden of having lost a child in action,” says participant Andie McCoy.
Also those who never returned home and are unaccounted for.
“I just think it’s the greatest amount of respect and joy you can give the family,” participant Jared Wortham. “That people still remember their sons and daughters that went to fight, so just giving that chance to honor them, it’s amazing.”
Then, there’s a special moment for the families still missing their loved ones.
Wortham says, “It’s not something to be forgotten. It’s not nice and it’s not good and there’s a lot of pain that goes with it in the families. Being able to honor them and respect them and give them this time of mourning for the families, it’s good to remember.
“I think it means a great deal. It doesn’t provide closure. What it does is provide them a warm feeling in their heart that there are still people that care,” says Allen. “We see so many bad things, but there are so many good things that go on around us and this is one of those good things.”
The memorial will last through Saturday. You can head over to the American Freedom Museum Saturday, May 14th, on the Brook Hill campus.
There will also be a classic car show along with the memorial ceremony and those in attendance will get to be a part of welcoming the Patriot Guard riders and Welcome Home soldiers.
The event last from nine until three.