PERRYVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) - Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial’s Grand Opening Celebration started Saturday, May 18th.
There’s a wall with more than 58,000 names of Vietnam War veterans engraved. We can read the names, but do we know their story?
“September 14th, 1969 he passed away. It was ten days before we knew for sure. We got the MIA notices. We got the KIA, and then we got the letter from his lieutenant apologizing wishing he could have done anything different," said Don Koonce about his brother, Michael Koonce.
“He’s actually a hero to me," said Sharyn Lueders about her childhood friend who died in the Vietnam War.
“We were good friends, and the lady up at the thing there she had pictures of him, and I didn’t know that. It was the first time I had seen him since he came home and was laid to rest," said Rege Riley, National Commander for American Veterans.
“When we were in camp. We’d always lit up a cigar and said this is gonna be our last one. Him and I were kind of like brother ya know. We kind of bonded together. And then when he got killed that day. I kinda. I don’t know. Lost a good friend," said a Vietnam War Veteran.
For some, it was an emotional day.
“Very hard and very touching. Like it was yesterday," said Lueders.
“It’s brought me to tears several times," said Claire Steiner.
“It could have been my name on that wall right here," said Charles Mauzy.
The names stay engraved, of brothers, mothers, friends, and heroes.
It effects everybody whether you cry, whether you laugh," said Riley.
“I like to think that he lives on as we tell stories to children about him and guys like him,” said Koonce.
The Memorial’s Grand Opening Celebration will continue on Sunday, May 18th from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. You can find more information here.