(Orange, Texas)

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January 6, 2013

Clay coming to life for Texas Vietnam memorial


BASTROP, Texas —

The hundreds of hours of tedious work on the monument is a privilege, said 35-year-old Jake Jurkovac, a sculptor and the foundry's assistant plant manager.

"It really is an honor to do something like this," he said while scraping at the clay with a tiny rake. "It's certainly something that should be done. And when you get down to it, the reward is seeing how much it means to people."

Floyd is thrilled with the progress.

"To see it actually take shape is hard to describe," he said. "To see the figures come to life, it's very meaningful to actually see it and see them doing the work."

To finish the monument, they'll use an ancient process known as lost wax casting, a series of molds involving modern silicon rubber, wax, ceramics and molten bronze heated to some 2,000 degrees. A crane will be needed to install the 5,500-pound monument just northeast of the Capitol building. Dedication is tentatively set for November.

Groundbreaking on the Capitol grounds is scheduled for March 25. Floyd said a first-ever reading of the names of those killed would be part of ceremonies a day earlier at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum at the University of Texas.

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