Vietnam War Memorial Would Link US, Vietnamese Troops

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Arlington unveiled a sculpture showing how the future Vietnam War Memorial at Veteran's Park will look.

    A new Vietnam War memorial is expected to be built at Veterans Park in Arlington.

    "Many families were affected by this war," said Peter Dao, a Vietnamese-American who lives in Arlington.

    Dao's brother, as well as his father-in-law, were killed during the war.

    "We're able to live in this country, to enjoy the freedom country; our children were able to be born in this country -- all of that is due to the sacrifices by the U.S. soldiers and the South Vietnamese soldiers," said Hung Dang, another Vietnamese-American. "I think 37 years is too long not to do something."

    Dang and the Heroes of South Vietnam Memorial Foundation that he chairs are attempting to build a memorial at Veterans Park.

    "We want the next generation to remember why we're here," said Duc Mai, vice chairman of the foundation.

    North Texas has the second largest Vietnamese population in Texas, Dang said. Many migrated to the area to raise their families after the war. Dang said they want their children to know the sacrifices that were made, because those sacrifices are not always articulated in history books.

    "South Vietnam was took over by North Vietnam, and the communists tried to rewrite history," said Thong Bui, a South Vietnam veteran.

    The foundation hopes the memorial, a sculpture of an American service member and a South Vietnam soldier, will symbolize the true story of the war.

    "The American soldier in my sculpture is going to be a special category American. The Vietnamese called him 'covan,' which means adviser and trusted friend," said Mark Austin Byrd, the sculptor commissioned for the project and a U.S. Marine who fought in the Vietnam War. "They were highly trained Americans, officers and enlisted. I feel the covan is the best symbol of the brotherhood between the American and the Vietnamese."

    The foundation has raised nearly $150,000 of the $1.2 million needed for the project. It is expected to be complete by the spring of 2014.