Texas State Railroad salute to the Armed Forces
POSTED: Friday, May 23, 2014 - 6:29pm
UPDATED: Friday, May 23, 2014 - 6:52pm
(KETK) - Tyler, Tx — Friday kicked off the 16th annual Texas State Railroad Salute to the Armed Forces. The event honors service men and women from every branch and era of military.
Hundreds of veterans and their loved ones attend this event each year, but this year is even more special and emotional because it features the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The wall is an 80 percent scale of the original, stretching 300 feet long and standing six feet tall with all 58,000 names that are on the original in Washington D.C.
With each back and forth motion of his pencil, Charles Lamberth rubbed the name of his biggest hero into his heart. In 1964, Lamberth was sent home from duty just months before his captain and half of his company died in a tragic ambush.
"I lost, I lost a lot of friends," Lamberth said. "I just wish I'd been there with them."
Lamberth could not have been more grateful to see, in person, the names he will never forget. Names written beside 58,000 other Vietnam heroes that gave their life, for ours.
"It is truly incredible and I don't think everybody can afford to go to Washington or is physically capable of going to Washington," said Janet Gregg, Texas State Railroad Marketing Manager." And this at least brings their loved ones name on the wall here so they can see it, feel it, touch it."
For those who have served and those who have lost friends or loved ones, memorial day holds a very special place in their heart.
"Memorial day means a great deal to me, matter of fact, it means a great deal to the guys here because the experience that we went through, especially during the Vietnam era was traumatic, really really traumatic," said Special Forces veteran Hilton Bryant.
Every single person at the soldier salute was there to honor and remember the true heroes, the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"These are the true heroes," Lamberth said. "They sacrificed everything they had."
The Memorial Wall will be up until 8 a.m. on Monday and it open for viewing 24 hours a day. The event will take place May 23 through 25.
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