By Michael Brick
AUSTIN — Vietnam veterans have broken ground on a monument at the state Capitol. At a ceremony on Monday, hundreds gathered to help turn over the dirt.
Lt. Gov David Dewhurst and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told their fellow veterans, "welcome home."
Planning has been under way since 2005. Private donors have contributed $1.3 million, according to the monument's organizing committee.
More than 3,400 Texans died in the Cold War conflict, which spanned nearly two decades. The United States unsuccessfully fought to protect South Vietnam from takeover by the communist forces aligned with North Vietnam.
The bronze monument will stand 14 feet tall, featuring a sculpture of infantry figures.
At the ceremony, dog tags with the names of the dead were dedicated. The tags will be entombed at the monument.