ANTONIO L. SANTOS DAY
On August 10th, 1944 Antonio L. Santos was born in Hondo, Tx., to immigrant parents, settling in the D'Hanis, Hondo, Texas area. He married and had two children.
When the call to arms reached Hondo, during the Vietnam War, Tony Santos volunteered and signed up. At the age of 21, Mr. Santos was called for active duty to serve our beautiful country, in the war of Vietnam. He returned, wounded from gunfire, with the bullet still in his head. Mr. Santos received the prestigious Purple Heart for his wounds, where his name can be found listed in the Legacy of the Purple Heart.
He would remarry years later and have two daughters. Along with his new wife, Tony embraced a daughter from her previous marriage as his own, and settled in Houston, Tx.
Tony, as he was known, became the founding director of the Texas Vietnam Veterans, leading marches throughout the state of Texas for over a decade, in honor and in memorial of fallen Texas soldiers. On September 11, 2007 he received the blessing from his oldest child, an ordained minister in Rosenberg, Tx., and pastor of New Life Ministries, and was launched to conduct “Operation USA Proud” in honor of fallen heroes of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The march would begin in Richmond and end in Del Rio, on September 21, 2007.
The parade through his hometown of Hondo, and honoring celebration at Hondo’s prestigious park, allowed Mr. Santos to finally come home, and in a way that should always honor and receive our brave military.
This would be Tony’s last march.
Tony Santos passed away on June 14th, 2020. He left a legacy of great proportions affecting the lives of countless thousands. Having honored Gold Star Mothers, receiving the bones of numerous fallen soldiers, attending hundreds of funeral services to give honor and respect, and marching thousands of miles through the beautiful State of Texas, walking much of the Texas highways, alone. He and faithful family and volunteers would arrive in specified towns and city gatherings, handing out flags.
The Tony Santos Memorial was established as he was being laid to rest. Under the direction of his oldest daughter and nearest next of kin, Tony's legacy continues and is spreading. With the August 10th date selected to celebrate his life, people who love and remember him fondly gather to celebrate. The City of Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner further confirmed this honor by Proclaiming Antonio L. Santos Day or Tony Santos Day, as his friends now refer to it! August 10th is Tony's birthday and everyone who knew him well also knew how much he loved his birthday!
Also, in honor of the continued sacrifice Tony made to his community and family of Veterans abroad, the flag that flies over this great countries' nations capital, on August 10, 2021, will be preserved in honor of Tony Santos and presented to the Antonio L. Santos Memorial for display.
This year’s gathering on August 10th, 2021, and all future gatherings, will focus on the theme, “Take Cover.” Tony’s last words before he was struck, falling in Vietnam in 1967. The bullet remained lodged in his head his entire life. The attack on his company and injury he incurred that day are chronicled in the autobiography of his daughter.
We believe, and hold true, that this theme would further represent our current and new world’s pandemic situation: Covid-19. Mr. Santos had fallen ill two months before the crisis was made public and deceased not ever fully knowing what was happening in our world. We believe it to be a call to duty for future preservation. This is a message relevant to today’s world, and among the multiple words of wisdom Mr. Santos spoke over our lives, we choose to remember him with these.
Incorporated and adopted as the Tony Santos Memorial Official flower is the beautiful flower bearing tree, the Wisteria. This was selected for it's beautiful blue color, Tony's favorite color, and it's symbolism: Love, grace, honor, endurance, longevity, creative expansion, releasing burdens, victory over hardship, patience, memory. You can receive a grafted, Wisteria root (approx. 24" grown and sprouting) from the Tony Santos Memorial, as a gift for your support. See our Wall of Remembrance page for details.