A first for the city of Premont, a replica of the Vietnam Memorial made a one-day appearance thanks to the efforts of a local group focused on thanking veterans.
“Being in a small community, we sometimes feel like our veterans are forgotten and sometimes we forget to say thank you,” said Epifanio Vargas, treasurer of the Premont Veterans Association. “It is the right thing to do, and it makes us realize that we are here only because of the service that they’ve given to our country.”
The replica appearance took about $3,500. Vargas said making this happen took a lot of work and fund-raising, but was well worth it.
“You see the pain and you realize the hurt and that makes you know that there’s more to this world than just a name on there,” he said. “It’s a human being that we have to thank their families for their sacrifice.”
He recalled the ceremony that happened early Saturday at Premont County Park.
“We gave a lady today two plaques for two brothers that served in the Vietnam War,” Vargas said. “Her name was Grace Cantu — and it makes you realize that — the sacrifice that that family made for our country, it makes us realize that, we need to say thank you again, and we need to humble ourselves to know that life is very precious.”
Vargas hopes the organization will be able to have the memorial revisit the city in the future.
“We’d like to bring it back within a few short years to our city and so that way we can continue honoring our soldiers that have fallen and veterans that are with us today”.
The replica is from the American Veterans Traveling Tribute. According to AVTT's website, the replica is scheduled to be in Camp Verde, Arizona in March.