The unveiling and dedication of a stone and granite Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Pfc. Clyde R. Houser Jr. Borough Annex Building on North Third Street in Lehighton will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. Keynote speaker will be George Duell, Army Reserve Ambassador to Pennsylvania, and also making remarks will be state Rep. Doyle Heffley. Becky McFadden will lead the national anthem and there will be a rifle salute by the United Veterans Organization. Reds O'Donnell will offer the invocation and benediction.
The dedication of the monument completes the goal of the Lehighton Area High School Class of 1964 members, who sought successfully to make the building a memorial site not only for Houser and three other area men who lost their lives in the Vietnam War, but for all Vietnam veterans.
The other Lehighton area men who died in the Southeast Asian war were LCPL Ron Christman, SP4 Charles Jones and SP4 Leon Eckhart.
Glass display cases also were placed inside the structure on the second floor with various memorabilia for each man along with copies of their medals, memorabilia and their American Funeral Flag. Following the dedication, there will be refreshments at Heffley's office and those attending will also be invited to view the display cases.
At 1:30 p.m., there will a second presentation inside the Pfc. Clyde R. Houser Jr. Borough Annex by Major General Jay Barry, retired. Barry is president of Vietnam Veterans of Carbon County. Following his presentation, there will be a brief reception with refreshments provided by the Lehighton Area High School class of 1964.
The building was renamed in memory of Houser this past spring. Houser was known to his friends as "Speedy," who was killed in action in Vietnam at the age of 21 on June 13, 1967. He was a 1964 graduate of Lehighton Area High School.
The borough annex was the former Lehighton Area High School from 1918 to 1964. The Class of '64 was the last class to graduate from the building, which was then converted into a junior high.
Houser was the only member of that LAHS class killed in Vietnam.
The committee planning the dedication and memorial raised most of the $7,500 goal to cover expenses of the project.
Contributions may be made to: The PFC Houser Memorial Fund, 221 Walnut St., Lehighton, PA 18235.
The renaming of the building came due to the efforts of six individuals who got together and came up with the suggestion. They are Clark Ritter, Lester Miller, Glenn Troutman, Jim Walp, Dave Werner and Dennis Yenser.
It was stressed by Ritter that the naming of the building and the planned displays are not just for the four men who died fighting in Vietnam, but are to recognize all Vietnam veterans.