AmVets Post 133 will once again this year host “Christmas at the Wall” at the National Vietnam War Museum.
The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m this Saturday, Dec. 7. It will include music, a candlelight tribute and the lighting of the museum’s outdoor Christmas tree. Refreshments will be available. Admission is free.
This year’s event will honor local Vietnam veteran Mike McDougal and his family. He passed away in August. McDougal served in the U.S. Army, 101st Airborne Division. He was a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and the AmVets Post 133. After his military service, he worked for WesTexas Vending for 37 years and became known locally as “The Candyman.”
At 5:30 p.m. there will be a special presentation by a group from San Angelo – the USAF Doggers, the Heritage Chapter of the Freedom Through Vigilance Association, and the 25th Intelligence Squadron. They will present to the museum a painting of the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison and an actual brick from the prison.
Dozens of bricks from the Hanoi Hilton were recovered in 1993 when an American official, driving to work in Hanoi, discovered the prison was being torn down. These bricks were entrusted to a group of USAF linguists called the “Doggers.” The group has awarded them to their members, as well as the Medal of Honor Society, Vietnam Veterans of America, and the U.S. Park Service that maintains the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.
The prison was named Hanoi Hilton by the prisoners of war held there by the North Vietnamese. It was built in Hanoi by the French in the late 1800s. During the Vietnam War it was known for its miserable and unsanitary conditions and as a place of torture on American servicemen, mostly pilots shot down, and others held there. Among those held and tortured there was the late U.S. Sen. John McCain and North Texas Congressman Sam Johnson.
The National Vietnam War Museum is located along U.S. Highway 180 East, just east of Mineral Wells in far western Parker County, adjacent to the pedestrian bridge near Maddux Road.