Visitors from near and far dropped by the Missouri National Veterans Memorial March 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Jim Stroman of Benton was visiting with his wife Linda.
A Marine veteran, Stroman has visited the Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C.
“This is an exact replica, it’s not scaled down,” Stroman said. “This is full size. This helps a whole lot of people in the Midwest that can’t make it to DC to see the other one. I have gone through the museum and it brings back some memories.”
Vietnam vets days is often overlooked, according to Stroman.
“No one knows about it, or I haven’t seen anything about it,” Stroman said.
Stroman said he has close to 50 friends whose names appear on the wall.
As to what will bring more awareness, Stroman said it’s people visiting and discussing their experience.
“It’s people talking about it,” Stroman said.
Viewing the wall in Perry County brings a mixed reaction, according to Stroman.
“It’s good memories, but it’s good memories and bad memories. It’s a matter of keeping it in perspective. It’s part of our history.”
Stroman, originally from Los Angeles, knows at least one veteran who grew tired of the verbal abuse upon returning home and took aggressive behavior against demonstrators.
This was the first indoor event since the pandemic last spring held at MNVM
“We decided to have an open house so our Vietnam veterans would be able to share their stories and visitors would be able to engage with them,” said Tracy Moore, event and social media coordinator for Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial. “That’s really the focus, the Vietnam veterans.”
She was impressed with the turnout Monday.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “The biggest part of what we do here we were missing, our veterans, our volunteers. We miss them so much. We are here to remember, it just gives us another opportunity to let those guys know we care and it’s just great to see their faces back.”
Vito Parisi of Sauget was there seeing one of friends that’s on the wall.
It was his first visit to Perryville to the memorial in Perry County. He praised the appearance of the memorial and war museum
“I think they did a helluva job, great job,” Parisi noted.