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The Perryville Wall

The Perryville Wall

Today, a full-sized replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall stands, officially known as America's Wall and locally known as The Perryville Wall. The wall is part of the new Missouri National Veterans Memorial site. It is a full-sized Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall like the one in the mall in Washington, D.C.

It all started in 1968 when Jim Eddleman promised himself in Vietnam that if he made it out alive, he would find a way to honor his friends who didn't. Jim is a man of his word. And he puts his money where his mouth is.

This 573 Magazine Story is proudly sponsored by First State Community Bank.

Jim and Charlene Eddleman have made a significant financial contribution and the donation of 46 acres of family land on which the Memorial was built. Additionally, they provided much of the inspiration and support for The Perryville Wall. Their continued involvement and incredible contributions have made this all possible. It was Jim's way of providing a lasting tribute to America's veterans.

Like all veterans, Jim understands the importance of teamwork. Many hands make light work, so he enlisted the help of several people who made his dream a reality. Our hats and hearts go out to everyone who pulled this off. It is simply amazing.

I am a veteran. I spent four years in the U.S. Air Force. I loved my time in, and I hated it — pretty much the feeling of everyone who serves. But almost everyone agrees that it's one of the best things they have done. Although I did not spend time on a battlefield, I did have my Forrest Gump moment while stationed at Dover Air Force Base. When the U.S. Marine base was bombed in Lebanon, hundreds of bodies were sent to Dover Air Force Base. Having spent three years on a casualty collection team, I was put on duty assisting the processing. It was a terrible task, but it taught me a great life lesson — people do really give their lives protecting the United States of America.

I'm not afraid to admit I am a fan of the flag and our country. During my time on active service, I've seen a lot of this world and witnessed a lot of evil. I can confidently say there is nothing like the U.S. anywhere else on this planet. Many people have given their lives to ensure our freedoms. It is beautiful yet sad to experience an exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

America's wall is available 24/7 and 100% free to all. Welcome Center and Museum open Monday to Friday from 11 am to 3 pm and on weekends from 9 am to 5 pm.

1172 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Perryville, MO 63775


words & pics by t. smugala

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