The State Fair of Texas draws hundreds of thousands of people each year. The fair food, the rides and the midway are just a few of the attractions people love to take in.
Also at Fair Park though, is a bit of a hidden treasure. Its called the Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The marble walls were dedicated in 1989 by former President George Bush, Sr., but volunteers say still to this day, it doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic.
James Parrish, who served three tours in Vietnam, says he hopes that changes in the coming years.
"These guys sacrificed and I can make the sacrifice to donate my retired time to come down here and keep the remembrance going on about these guys on the wall," said Parrish.
The privately-funded memorial is the only one of its kind in Texas.
Parrish says he and other veterans volunteer to man the memorial each year to also educate the public. He wants people to understand that the 3,417 names memorialized on the wall are all from Texas. All people who served their country and gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Visitors like Brenda Stamper had tears in her eyes as she read the names. Something she and her Vietnam veteran husband do each year.
“They died,” said Stamper. “They gave everything. And all these names on this wall, [those soldiers] should be here today. But they’re not. So that’s why we come.”
Parrish says he appreciates the gratitude, but ultimately, this is about telling the stories of those who are not fortunate enough to do it themselves.
“We have to tell the stories to the younger generation now. We are getting older. They will have to tell the stories when we are gone,” said Parrish.