South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial dedication set Gov. Mike Rounds has announced that the state of South Dakota will dedicate a seven-foot bronze statue of an American fighting soldier in jungle battle gear to honor South Dakotans who fought in the Vietnam War between 1961 and 1973.
"On September 15 and 16, 2006, South Dakotans and other Americans will come together in Pierre to pay tribute and honor to the more than 26,000 young men and women from our state who served in Vietnam and the 187 who gave their lives," Rounds said.
The bronze Vietnam War Memorial statue will join bronzes produced for the WWII Memorial, dedicated in 2001 and the Korean War Memorial dedicated in 2004. Pierre artist, Lee Leuning and Aberdeen artist, Sherri Treeby, were selected in 2000 to prepare the bronze figures.
"When I was in school, I remember many young men graduating who went directly to basic training, advanced individual training, and then on to Vietnam," the governor said. "In those days, the draft was in effect and a lot depended on your draft lottery number."
"Immediately following the successful Korean War Memorial Dedication this past September, we had people calling from all over South Dakota and America, asking when we will be honoring Vietnam veterans."
Rounds said. that a committee has been selected and that plans and fund raising for the event will begin in 2005. "This will be a huge event and we anticipate hosting the largest event ever held in Central South Dakota," said the governor. "On the occasion of this Veteran's Day, it is my honor to announce these dedication plans for the Vietnam Memorial," Rounds said.