44 Vietnam-era veterans from central Missouri are traveling this morning on a bus on an all-expense paid one-day visit to the National Veterans Memorial in southeast Missouri’s Perryville.
They’ll see a wall that is a permanent full-scale black granite model of the Vietnam Veterans memorial identical to the one in Washington D.C. The trip is being organized by the Mid-Mo Veterans Express (MMVE). MMVE director Darren “Bear” Reuter tells 939 the Eagle that he’s excited to see this concept come to life.
“We have 22 from the Army, ten from the Marine Corps, five from the Navy, five from the Air Force and two from the (Missouri) National Guard going with us,” Reuter says.
The veterans left Jefferson City’s Courtyard by Marriott hotel at about 7:30 this morning to make the three-hour trip to Perryville. They’ll also see the Honor Flag memorial in Perryville, which is a large structure that stretches 49-feet along the Welcome Center’s southern edge.
“We’ll spend about two hours there at the memorial site. It should give them plenty of time to see the event center, the museum, the wall itself and then some of the other outside displays and stuff that they have down there,” says Reuter.
He says the trip provides the veterans with an opportunity to pay tribute to their fellow service members at the Vietnam wall replica. The 44 veterans will also see the Guardians of Freedom Monument in Perryville, which is dedicated to all U.S. military special operations.
The veterans will be treated to lunch at Perryville’s American Legion post, and will return late this afternoon or early this evening, depending on St. Louis-area traffic. Mr. Reuter tells 939 the Eagle that the American Legion Post 5 and the Samuel Gearhart Marine Corps auxiliary will provide gift bags for the veterans when they return.
You’re invited to welcome the veterans back home to Jefferson City when they return.