Details about a visit to the St. Louis area of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) wall were announced last month at a luncheon at Sunset Country Club in Sunset Hills.
The wall is being brought to the area by Show-Me Hero Salute, a not-for-profit group formed for the sole purpose of organizing and presenting the AVTT for the St. Louis region.
The AVTT Wall is an 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., which has more than 58,000 names of those who lost their lives or who are missing in action as a result of the Vietnam conflict. The traveling tribute wall will be installed on the campus of Lindbergh High School, 4900 S. Lindbergh Blvd. on June 12 with much ceremony in what is described as a "dignified display" to honor those who served in Vietnam and returned as well as those who served and didn't come home.
The Wall will be on display 24 hours a day, from noon June 13 through 3 p.m. Sunday June 16. The wall's arrival at Lindbergh High School will include a motorcade of vehicles and motorcycles and an honor guard, starting at the parking lot of Pole Position Raceway in Crestwood around 3:30 p.m. on June 12, continuing to the high school by 4:30 p.m.
Show-Me Hero Salute is hosting the St. Louis visit of the "traveling wall," and is largely due to the efforts of the Sunset Hills Historical Society, many local businesses, civic organizations and local veterans groups.
Organizers of Thursday's luncheon highlighted several local soldiers who gave their lives for their country and whose names appear on the wall, including Gary Evens Beasley, an Army PFC, who is the only known fatality to have attended Lindbergh High School.
The group also provided a number of statistics about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a way to give those who didn't live through the war years a better understanding of the war and its impact on America, which witnessed the death of more than 58,000 people in Vietnam.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial stats
- At least five men killed in Vietnam were 16 years old.
- At least 12 men killed in Vietnam were 17 years old.
- There are 120 persons who listed foreign countries as their home of record.
- At least 25,000 of those killed were 20 years old or younger
- More than 17,000 of those killed were married.
- There were 997 killed on their first day in Vietnam (unconfirmed).
- There were 1,448 killed on their last day in Vietnam (unconfirmed).
- There are 16 chaplains names on the Wall (two Medal of Honor winners).
- There are 8 women whose names appear on the Wall out of 7,484 who served (one U.S. Air Force, seven U.S. Army).
- There are 226 Native Americans on the Wall.
- There are 22 countries represented on the Memorial.
- The most common name on the Memorial Wall is Smith
- The most casualties for a single day of the Vietnam War was on Jan. 31, 1968 (245 Casualties).
- The most casualties for a single month was 2,415 in May 1968.
- There are more than 58,000 (58,270) names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Names are still being added. The requirement is that death must be as a result of wounds sustained during the Vietnam conflict.
Local veterans groups are excited about the Wall coming to St. Louis.
"The traveling wall is very important to vets, especially for those who can't get to the memorial in Washington D.C.," said Vietnam veteran Don Aird. "I know some of us will only visit it at night, when it is private and not a lot of people are around. I know a lot of us would like to see young people go visit in the day and find out what the Wall and Vietnam was all about."
For more information about the Show Me Salute activities and the traveling Wall, visit Show-MeHeroSalute.org or contact the group at 314-849-2234.
Please share your stories about a friend or loved one who paid the ultimate price defending our freedoms. Send them to Dan Barger at Dan.Barger@patch.com. We will be telling the stories of those who served in Vietnam, both those who made it back and those who only made it back by being listed on the Memorial Wall.