Sunday, November 18, 2012

Missouri III

Another very early memorial also has its home in O'Fallon. In Dames Park, this site honors the 19 men from the community who were lost in 'Nam. The memorial, named for Omer J. Dames rests in a 59 acre park on land once a part of the Dames family farm. Omer J. Dames was a WWI veteran and a Missouri legislator for a number of years. He died in office in 1969 and this memorial was built to honor him and was dedicated to those lost from St Charles County. 5 of these were from the City of O'Fallon. This memorial is considered to be one of the earliest to honor Vietnam's lost. Followers of this blog know that a number of places vie to be the first or oldest site honoring our brothers and sisters. I may never actually be able to categorically state which particular memorial was "first" or the oldest. What is important is that communities around the country chose to build them, especially these that were built at a time when the war was still raging and its popularity eroding with each passing day and death. One could easily imagine that it may have taken some courage to propose, plan and build a memorial.

Side note. Previously, in a different park there was another memorial in O'Fallon. One of the Traveling Walls came to the city and was on display in another site. As is so often the case, when it left the people wanted to do something to commemorate its visit. It was decided to plant bushes in the exact spot it rested and to keep them pruned to always look like the Wall and to mirror its actual size. A bench and a small plaque were placed at the site, towards the rear of the park, in a quite, restful setting, along a walking path. The last time I visited, I was able to visit this spot and photograph this remarkable site. Those are some of the pictures that were lost in a computer problem (yes, they were backed up, TWICE) and part of the reason for my return to O'Fallon. Unfortunately, the bushes were lost to the recent drought and have not been replaced. It breaks my heart to have lost this one.

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