WWII veterans tour Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial in Perryville

WWII veterans tour Missouri's National Veterans Memorial.
Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 12:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 19, 2023 at 8:00 PM CDT
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PERRYVILLE, Mo. (KFVS) - Six World War II veterans toured Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial on Monday, June 19.

According to organizers, the veterans toured the facility and “America’s Wall”--an exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

”I think it is beautiful--really really beautiful,” said Tom Lacey, one of the World War II veterans. “It is very well thought out, and it is uplifting.“

This trip takes the veterans back to their own days in uniform.

“I was in the Marine Corps, the fourth marine division, as a communications personnel and control naval gunfire,” said Kenton Luttrell, another World War II veteran.

Organizer George Despotis said he has worked with veterans events in St. Louis, and when he heard about this memorial in Perryville, he knew they should make the trip.

“One thing I have focused in on in my life is to try to memorialize the sacrifice of those who wear the uniform and the sacrifices for our freedom because without our freedom the world would be a very different place,” Despotis said.

Before they left, these veterans received pins and other tributes to their service.

Luttrell said he values any time he gets with those who know exactly what he went through.

“You know it is always a pleasure because we share a lot of the same feelings and thoughts and some of these guys I have known for several years and it is always fun and a pleasure to speak with them,” Luttrell said.

The memorial opened in May 2019, followed by a grand opening for its military museum in August 2020.

It also features an honor flag memorial, Guardians of Freedom monument and welcome center.