To The Editor:
I am somewhat surprised that all the local news networks, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have been so involved with the protest of the court rulings on the police officer who was found “not guilty” that the media missed reporting an important event that just took place, namely, the “Wall to Wall” Ride of the Missouri American Legion Riders that started in Jefferson City, Mo., by the American Legion Riders Post 5.
Their mission, all eight of them, headed by “Big” Jim Rosenberg, was to ride their motorcycles from their post in Jefferson City Sept. 9, to Washington, D.C., to attend a flag ceremony headed by Sen. Roy Blunt on the 12th, retrieving a U.S. flag and MIA/POW flag that was stationed by the Vietnam Veterans Wall Memorial and then ride back to Missouri by the 16th to meet up with nearly 1,000 fellow Legion Riders from all over the state at the Lowe’s parking lot in Arnold. There, in Arnold, at 8 a.m., the Washington Post 218 Legion Riders (myself included) were to depart for Perryville for a ceremony to take place at 11 a.m. Sen. Blunt was quoted, “Over 1,400 Missourians fought and died for our country in Vietnam, we are eternally grateful for their service.”
I was quite humbled and impressed to see hundreds, if not, thousands of Missourians, lined up over all the Interstate 55 overpasses, side roads, rooftops and car tops waving U.S. flags. Several law enforcements took place in the flag escort controlling the traffic.
These flags will be stationed on a permanent basis at a newly built memorial in Perryville. The 47 acres, which were donated to the promoters, will have an exact duplicate of the Vietnam Veterans Wall in D.C. This sister wall will be built by donations from many and it will be completed by May 28, 2018. The wall and the memorial are unique in themselves but the idea came from a past Vietnam veteran, who wishes to be anonymous, along with the help of Mike and Vicky Lundy (Perryville). He wanted to give back to all the veterans of the Vietnam War, something they could remember forever. This generous veteran donor contributed over a million and a half dollars to get this off the ground.
The ceremony, which began shortly after 11 a.m., was extremely patriotic; several guest speakers were on hand, along with Ozzie Smith (St. Louis Cardinals) and a congressman, Jackie Smith, a NFL Hall of Famer, who not only spoke to the large crowd, but sang the national anthem and “God Bless America.” The two flags, U.S. flag on top and the MIA/POW underneath, will fly from a large flagpole near the newly constructed visitors center which will house a chapel, media room, office and open area in this small Missouri town, the center, of the United States.
I felt so proud and honored to be at this place along with my fellow comrades, many of whom were also in Vietnam. Thank you for printing this bit of news that most Washingtonians and other Missourians never got to witness.