Vietnam War Memorial
Location: 209 W. Pearce Blvd., Wentzville, MO 63385 (adjacent to the Fire Station)
Wentzville takes extreme pride in being home to the first Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the United States. Originally dedicated on Dec. 2, 1967, the site was initially established as a tree of lights by local residents to raise fund to send Christmas gifts to community servicemen stationed in Vietnam. Enough funds were raised to send the care packages, as well as place a small monument next to the tree.
The original dedication day was a somber one, both in spirit and in weather. The rain poured down and the temperatures were cold, but local residents stayed to dedicate their special gift.
“Participants and spectators alike shivered in the bone-chilling cold. But few complaints were heard about personal comfort. People came and people stayed because they felt a warmth inside … perhaps a sense of gratitude that they were able to ‘do something.’” 1
By December 1968, a 30-foot tree had been donated to replace the original tree of lights and two local artists provided a sculpture to sit beside the tree. Over time, however, the tree died and the memorial was subjected to repeated vandalism. Residents convened once again to plan a more permanent structure, which was dedicated in 1984.
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Memorial, a three-day celebration, designated “Operation Silver Star,” was held Oct. 1-3, 1993. Activities included displays and demonstrations by local military units, musical performances, a parade, and a ceremony officially rededicating the Memorial.
Each year the Memorial serves as a stop during the annual “Run for the Wall” event. During Run for the Wall, motorcyclists travel cross-country, eventually ending at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. This event honors and remembers U.S. POW and MIA servicemen and women.
As it stands today, the Wentzville Vietnam Veterans Memorial consists of a single-column of red Missouri granite, topped by the carved figure of an eagle. Inscribed in the column’s base is:
Vietnam Veterans Memorial December 1967
“Whither thou goest, I will go.”
In 2015, directional signage has been placed throughout the community to guide visitors and residents to the Memorial. The directional signage was recommended by the Downtown Committee and strongly endorsed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen in order to honor our veterans and recognize this historic Memorial.