By DAVID MAY
Nearly four decades since the end of the Vietnam War, the 58,287 men and women who sacrificed their lives are long gone but far from forgotten.
About 100 people made sure of that Sunday evening with the third annual “Christmas at the Wall” and “Lighting of the Tree” event at the National Vietnam War Museum site in western Parker County near Mineral Wells.
This year the family of Army Spc. E4 Tony Anguiano were special guests and helped light the museum's Christmas tree. His name is on Panel W3, line 112 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, of which a half-sized replica is the centerpiece of the NVWM site.
Anguiano, of Mineral Wells, was killed July 24, 1971, in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam, just two weeks before he was to return home.
Anguiano's older brother, Ralph Anguiano Jr., introduced some of the family members present. He said Tony was the 10th of 12 children – seven boys and five girls.
“Tony was my mother's favorite,” Ralph Anguiano said. “He was a very good boy. He attended church regularly. He decided after he finished high school that we would go and see what was going on over there, then come back and play basketball for the Army.”
Tony was a basketball standout at Mineral Wells High School, known as “The Flying Ram.”
“He wanted to go over and see how come all of these guys were being killed,” Ralph Anguiano said. “One of his goals was to come back and buy a car. He was 20 years old and he had never owned a car. He was a boy of many talents. He excelled in pool, table tennis and especially basketball. He enjoyed life very much.”
Another brother, Joe Anguiano, a 25-year Army veteran with several tours of duty in Vietnam, was at a loss for words and obviously struggles to this day with his war and service experiences.