The American Freedom Museum, Texas Veteran’s Classic Car Show and the American Veteran’s Traveling Tribute (AVTT), will host their annual East Texas Salute honoring all veterans along with a Welcome Home Parade and Ceremony for Vietnam Veterans from all over Texas, on Saturday, May 12th, from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The event will be held on the grounds of the American Freedom Museum and The Brook Hill School.
This year’s event is as an expression of heartfelt gratitude to our Vietnam veterans. Vietnam veterans represented 9.7 percent of their generation, with 2,709,918 Americans serving in uniform in Vietnam. Few soldiers returning home from the Vietnam War were greeted at airports and train stations with flowers and messages of “thank you” like our military men and women returning home today are welcomed. In fact, some were spat on. Vietnam was a war that tore at the soul of the country during the tumultuous times of the late 60s and early 70s. To those who are old enough to remember, they will never forget the powerful images of the time. At this year’s East Texas Salute, we will spend the day honoring this special group of veterans and their families, letting them know that their service for our country is appreciated and that many people here in East Texas are proud of them and want to shake their hands and thank them for their service.
The media and public from all over Texas are invited to this admission free patriotic and educational event and ceremony. The salute and activities will run from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 12th. The American Freedom Museum, Traveling Vietnam Wall and Texas Veterans Classic Car Show (with over 200 classic cars), will be available for viewing, free of charge, beginning at 8:00 a.m. We will begin the morning with a parade of over 50 military vehicles and the Patriot Guard Riders down Old Jacksonville Highway carrying some of our Vietnam veterans followed by a brief ceremony and “Huey” helicopter fly over honoring these great heroes. There will also be a complimentary lunch served to all in attendance and many other activities throughout the day.
The public event and ceremony on Saturday, May 12th, will be an admission free event featuring:
- Parade (beginning at Stewart Funeral Home) with military vehicles carrying some of our Vietnam veterans down Old Jacksonville Highway to the Museum, led by the Smith County Sheriff and the Patriot Guard Riders. A “Huey” helicopter will fly cover for the parade. (Parade will leave Stewart Funeral Home at 8:30 a.m.)
- Unloading Vietnam veterans and parking vehicles from the parade (9:15 – 9:30 a.m.)
- East Texas Men in Harmony Concert (9:30 – 10:00 a.m.)
- Ceremony and recognition of our Vietnam War Veterans, huge American Flag display, “Huey Helicopter flyover (10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)
- Complimentary Lunch Served Immediately Following the Ceremony
- “Mouse and the Traps” Rock N Roll band (11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
- Fire Power Demonstration (1:30 p.m.)
- Award Ceremony for Texas Veteran’s Classic Car Show (2:30 p.m.)
- American Freedom Museum (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
- Texas Veterans Classic Car Show (8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
- The Traveling Vietnam Wall (8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
- Military, SWAT and First Responders Vehicles and Displays (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
- Helicopters (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
- Texas Military Personnel (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
- Children’s Activities (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
- Exhibitors and Vendors (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.)
The American Freedom Museum’s mission is to Honor American veterans and military personnel for the sacrifices they have made to ensure the many freedoms we enjoy each day, to Educate this and future generations about our rich American heritage, and to Inspire others to achieve greatness in their lives as the men and women throughout our nation’s history have done. The “East Texas Salute” provides the opportunity for the citizens and students of East Texas to show their appreciation for the sacrifices of our military men and women, to acknowledge their courage and to show them the honor and support they have earned. Please join us as we honor and pay tribute to these great American heroes who sacrificed their lives protecting our God-given freedoms.
Jan Hommel – American Freedom Museum Director
(903) 894-5252 (office)
(903) 570-3449 (cellular)
Texas Veterans Classic Car Show
Don Allen – AVTT Coordinator, LTC USA Retired