Richmond Heights, MO (KTRS) A new memorial to honor those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War has come to the heartland.
An exact replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. has been built in Perryville, Missouri. On Thursday night, some of those behind this initiative held a dinner with members of the St. Louis media to spread the word about Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial.
Among those in attendance at Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant in Richmond Heights was NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Smith.
“I think that being it’s in the heartland of Missouri, I think that’s going to be a big boost for us.” Smith said.
A Perryville man is the driving force behind this memorial. That man is Jim Eddleman, who served in the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968.
“He made a promise to himself if he was ever in a position to do so, he would honor his comrades.” explained Megan Carver, a spokesperson for Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial.
Nearly five decades later, Eddleman fulfilled that promise. In 2017, he formed a board to plan the memorial wall. That was followed by Eddleman and his wife, Charlene donating just over $2 million and a three generation family farm to build the memorial.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall replica, officially known as “America’s Wall” opened in January. More than 58,000 names of those who died in the Vietnam War are engraved on the black granite memorial.
An official Grand opening celebration is planned in May. Events will kick off at 8 am. on Saturday May 18 and run through 4 pm. Sunday, May 19.
Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial is located at 1172 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Perryville, MO 63775. More information is available online at https://www.mnvmfund.org/index.html or by calling 573-547-2035.