Huntsville museum walkway for Vietnam vets
Ted Hubert

A teacher in Walker county, wanting to add interest in her history class, asked veterans to share their service experiences.

The Bluebonnet Square Antiques Shop in Huntsville, in 1993, proudly displayed a picture of Brigadier General Ray Lynch, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

Charlotte Olenik answered the call to help educate children with a small traveling school exhibit and this concept grew. An elementary principal told Mrs. Olenik she has a lot of heart.

Mrs. Olenik and Charles David then co-founded the Helping Every American Remember Through Service ( HEARTS) Museum.

They gave programs and collected items used in combat until it was impossible to carry all these military artifacts from campus to campus. A permanent building was a must. The museum opened Veterans Day, after 15 years of work.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice donated land. Grants were written.

On Saturday ( May 11) the HEARTS Museum dedicated the Vietnam Walkway which honors the men and women who served in Vietnam.

Aug. 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975 are set as the beginning and the ending dates of the war.

During that time, 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty, 2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam.

Vietnam veterans represented 9.7% of their generation and 240 were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1961. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him.

There were 58,148 American deaths, 75,000 were severely disabled, 23,214 were 100-percent disabled, 5,283 lost limbs, 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.

Of those killed, 61 percent were younger than 21, 11,465 younger than 20 and 17,539 were married.

The average age of men killed was 23.1, five were only 16 years old, oldest was 62 years.

As of Jan. 15, 2004, there were still 1,875 Americans still unaccounted.

Ninety-seven percent of Vietnam veterans were honorably discharged, 91% say they are glad they served, 74% would serve again, even knowing the outcome.

Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups. Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

Eighty-seven percent of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.

If you know someone that served in Vietnam tell them about the Vietnam Walkway located in Huntsville and encourage everyone to visit it.

PROGRAM—At 11:35 a.m. June 4, MCT will bring a brief program about what to do in an emergency at the Milano Senior Citizens building.

A. D. Lagrone (512-455-3420) would like for those attending to call him and order a plate.

After Susan Larson, SALT committee member of MCT concludes her program, we can eat together.

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2013-05-16 digital edition

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