PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - City leaders, along with project managers and other officials, broke ground at the site of the Missouri's National Veterans Memorial Park in Perryville, Missouri on Wednesday.
The new memorial is going to be an exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
"It means a great deal to me," Vietnam Veteran Larry White said. "I think it's in a good place. Perry County has always been very patriotic and it's just a wonderful thing to see."
More than 100 people gathered together to share in this moment of this historic Vietnam Wall construction starting in the northern part of Perryville, Mo.
"It's a great step for Perry County as a community but also for the United States because this wall will mark accessibility for our Veterans to come to a special place and meet with other fellow Veterans and reflect, pray, and look back on their service to our country," Missouri's National Veterans Memorial Director Don Fulford said.
A dozen project and city leaders stood side by side in front of the American flag blowing in the wind as Michale Lundy and other leaders stood at the podium and addressed their thanks for the Veterans and for the support for making this project happen.
After several speeches, the dozen people each took their shovels and commemorated the beginning of the construction on the project by taking a chunk of dirt out of the ground.
"It's an emotional thing, very," White said. "I was able to see the wall in Washington, D.C. and just to know it's going to be here, in a smaller version of course but it's just a great thing."
The wall will include the names of the 58,000 men and women service members who lost their lives fighting for our country. This also includes over a dozen who are still missing in action.
These names of our historic predecessors will be engraved in the memorial so they will be forever remembered.
"Everybody is so supportive and thankful to their Veterans," Missouri's National Veterans Memorial Director Vicki Lundy said. "To have this in a small community like this and they can come and feel honored, I think it's amazing."
"Whether they are riding a motorcycle or pulling up in their cars and with their families, to recognize what went on, to educate themselves and to empower the next generation of this special monument," Fulford said.
Talks for this project started three years ago when an anonymous person donated a sizable amount of money because they wanted to do something for the Veterans.
As it sits now, they have $1.5 million to start the project with.
In addition, they also plan to install a flag pole in which they need some additional funds in which they are asking donations for.
At the event, the American Legion Post 150 in Ste. Genevieve donated $1,500 for that flag pole, however, more funds are needed.
The next special day for this memorial is on September 16. They are asking everyone that rides a motorcycle to come and ride from Pevely, Mo. down I-55 to Perryville as a flag from the Vietnam Veterans Wall is delivered from Washington, D.C.
"It's just so exciting," Lundy said. "We have to remember our Veterans. We can't forget our Veterans."
They plan to have this project completed by November 11.