ABILENE, Texas - Though Memorial Day is the nationally recognized day to remember those who lost their lives while serving our country, it is important to honor their service every day of the year.
The Texas Vietnam War Heroes exhibit is visiting the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum in Abilene for just one more week. The traveling exhibit is devoted to thousands of Texans who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"[As] the saying goes, a country that forgets its defenders is itself soon forgotten," said William Lenches, a 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum spokesman.
The exhibit includes replicas of each dog tag from those Texans who served in Vietnam and did not make it back home alive.
"It pays homage to those 3,417 Texans who were killed in the Vietnam War [and] also those who were listed missing in action," Lenches said.
Lenches said the exhibit helps people remember the past and move forward in a healthy way.
"For the veterans and the families themselves, it's a healing experience," Lenches said. "They can come here and pay homage to their buddies and their friends and family members who were lost in the war and it's a healing opportunity for them."
And child visitors can often get the chance to visit with an actual Vietnam veteran.
"They learn about sacrifice and the fact that it's never too far from your hometown," Lenches said. "Every time kids from school come through, we make sure to find out which members of the military from their hometown were lost in Vietnam and we have them look for the dog tags. It brings it home to them."
The museum is located at 1289 N. 2nd St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Texas Vietnam War Heroes exhibit will be features at the museum until Monday, June 2. Admission to that exhibit alone is free.
The museum features more than 5,000 WWII artifacts. You can learn more about the museum here.