A unique tribute to Texans who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War was opened to the public Friday on the U.S.S. Lexington.
The Texas Vietnam Heroes exhibit includes row after row of shiny copies of dog tags representing the more than 3,400 Texans who dies in the war. It was developed by the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument Committee, and even includes 102 Texans still listed as missing in action.
Four of those MIA servicemen come from the Coastal Bend. The MIA dog tags in the display are black in recognition of their status.
Visitors were deeply touched by the display.
"I like it. It startles me a little bit, to see the dog tags there," Iowa resident Ron Vincent said. "I don't want to... I'll get... I have a problem with it only because it touches me, and I lived on the front lines there."
"It's very emotional, of course," Pam Vincent said. "I was a teenager through the '60s and we wore the bracelets. I still have one from someone in our hometown that was missing in action, and it was always somebody's brother or cousin. Somebody had someone in Vietnam."
The memorial was commissioned by the state legislature to give veterans and families the opportunity those who never came home. It will be on display at the U.S.S. Lexington until March 23.
The dog tags will eventually become part of a time capsule permanently on display in Austin.