Memorial Day

Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

The elm and oak trees have grown tall with age in Section 57 of Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in south St. Louis County. It’s a quiet place, where songbirds rule the peace from the branches above.

Amid the white marble tombstones, row on row, stands one stone obelisk from another era. It marks the final resting place of African-American Civil War soldiers from Missouri who died from cholera in August 1866, as they made their way home from the war.

Nora Ibrahim

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.

Provided by the family

Several days before Army Sgt. Amanda Pinson of Lemay deployed to Iraq, she visited with her cousin Jennifer Jerome.

They chatted about many things, but Jerome says one comment stands out in her mind from that conversation: “Amanda said, ‘If something were to happen, what if people forget me?’ ’’

Jerome assured Pinson that nothing would happen, but she also made a promise.

“I told her, ‘I will never let anyone forget you.' ’’

Commentary: Trip To Vietnam Was Its Own Memorial

May 25, 2014
American vets place incense in respect for the fallen enemy. Tony Shaw, second from the right, is in the black T shirt.
Cathy Primm

For a small group of veterans, Memorial Day was a long month this year. We began our observance in Vietnam where we volunteered to build schools.

I was the only veteran on the trip sponsored by the Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project who still lives in Missouri. But Tony Shaw grew up in suburban St. Louis, went to Mizzou and graduated in 1968 as an ROTC second lieutenant. He is now a board member of VVRP and lives in Prescott, Ariz., where he practices law.

(Elena Schneider/Medill News Service)

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says the way American veterans receive disability claims has "got to change."

His comments come as the federal Department of Veterans Affairs is working on a new digital, paper-less way of handling the claims. The V.A is working to get that done by September.

Durbin says on average, Illinois veterans wait close to a year for payments - which he says is the third-worst rate in the country.

Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

The small town of Alton, Ill. boasts of having the longest consecutive Memorial Day Parade in the country. The community has honored the sacrifices of its sons and daughters in uniform for 145 years. 

Korean War veteran Harry Kortcamp says he was a boy the first time he marched in Alton’s Memorial Day Parade.

“When they had victory in Germany, I marched in that parade," he said. "When they had victory in Japan, I marched in that parade as a member of the Alton Legion Drum and Bugle Corps.”

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Three years ago this week, a roadside bomb killed Lt. Roslyn Schulte.

The St. Louis native was the first female graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy to be killed in combat. Now, a new memorial honors her life and death - a plaque under the flagpole at the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur.

Schulte was traveling from a refugee camp to Bagram Air Force Base when the bomb hit on May 20, 2009. She was one of 461 American soldiers killed in action that year.

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