LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – The 6th annual West Texas Veterans Tribute was held Saturday at the Silent Wings Museum.
It was a way for the city to celebrate all that veterans sacrifice for us and to make them aware of the resources available to them.
Rodney Gonzales is director of the Amarillo Veterans Health Care System Medical Center. Gonzales says only a small percentage of Americans enlist.
“Less than 10 percent of our nation even serves in some capacity,” Gonzales said. “When you talk about military service, it boils down to the single digit of the number that served.”
There are between 20,000 and 25,000 veterans in the community of Lubbock.
Benny Guerrero, chairman of the Veterans Advisory Committee, says he feels one of his duties is to make sure everyone remembers those who fought for our country.
“From time to time, we feel that part of the veteran population has been overlooked and it is our responsibility as a veterans advisory committee, outside of city council, not to allow the city to forget,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero also helps for other reasons. He was deployed 12 times and returned home while others did not. He said it breeds guilt that can only be solved by volunteering.
Returning from deployment can be very difficult for veterans. They may face physical and mental health issues. Gonzales says post-traumatic stress is very serious.
“You might see that your fellow fighter, who you’ve been living with for the past few months, suffers serious injuries or may even be killed,” Gonzales said. “Well that can take a lot out of you.”
The Silent Wings Museum regularly pays tribute to WWII veterans, but that’s not the only reason it was chosen as the location.
“That’s where all of our Vietnam veterans were deployed when they left Lubbock for Vietnam,” Gonzales said.
He says they walked through the front doors, through the museum, then boarded a plane and said goodbye to their families for a year and a half.
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