Veterans, families and other citizens commemorated fallen soldiers and loved ones who served in war Monday at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay was among the elected officials who gathered for the 55th annual ceremony at the cemetery, which is the fifth largest under the Department of Veterans Affairs. Slay said Memorial Day marks one of the most important days of every summer.
For veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life, playing music can provide a means of focus and escape. That's the founding idea of Six String Heroes, a non-profit organization based at Jefferson Barracks. The organization connects St. Louis area veterans with guitar lessons as a means of music therapy.
After six lessons, veterans can earn a free guitar. So far, more than 170 guitars have been awarded.
Local veterans say they're hopeful that a deal can be worked out to expand Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
The cemetery in south St. Louis County was established in 1826 and veterans groups say it could be filled by 2025. They've asked local politicians and governments to support giving nearby Sylvan Springs Park to the federal government for an expansion of Jefferson Barracks.
Mike LeBlanc is a Vietnam War veteran who helped coordinate the lobbying efforts.