ST. LOUIS – From St. Louis County to the city, Memorial Day commemorations were held in honor of fallen soldiers this year, which meant something extra special for veterans who have served in the Vietnam War.
At the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, many gathered for the ceremony. Bob Miller had four family members laid to rest at the cemetery. He said honoring the lives lost in battle is a way to pay tribute to what has been sacrificed.
“These people paid the ultimate price; some of them lost their lives during the conflict,” Miller said.
He said the sacrifices made in battle were sacrifices made for our country and freedom.
“It’s important that we remember… you know… the price of freedom,” he said. “I mean, freedom isn’t free.”
As many tombstones were joined with prideful colors of red, white, and blue, Daniel Williams, deputy director at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, hone in on what makes this year’s Memorial Day important for those who served in Vietnam.
“It’s the 50th anniversary of our Vietnam veterans returning from Vietnam,” Williams said.
At the Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum, a special new adaptation has been made outside. Thanks to research conducted for its Vietnam War Exhibition, 254 names have been added to the existing 213 St. Louisans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
Mark Sundlove, Managing Director of Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, explains why the remembrance wall holds importance to the museum and the community.
“That tumultuous time period in our history, the righteousness that was ongoing… to finally kind of give them that sense that their community did honor their service,” Sundlove said.
He said the community could step in to honor that sacrifice.
“Honor those who have served before you by delivering your own service and doing what you can for the community,” Sundlove said.
As commemorations are shown throughout the state and the country on Memorial Day, President of the Missouri Historical Society, Jody Sowell, said it’s important to not lose sight of what Memorial Day weekend is all about.
“We can’t forget the purpose, which is to honor those people, who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Sowell said.
He said he hoped some bring in a new sense of acknowledgment for Memorial Day. He also wished the new remembrance wall will serve as a new place of remembrance for loved ones lost in the Vietnam War.
“To have a space where either family and friends can come see their names couldn’t be more important,” Sowell said. “And what a perfect day to do that, here on Memorial Day.”