POINT LOOKOUT, MO. - More than 1,400 servicemen and women from the state of Missouri gave their lives during the Vietnam War. The fallen will be honored through an official Missouri memorial on the campus of College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri.
The dedication of the memorial will take place at the College on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
The purpose of the memorial is to honor the fallen and properly thank Vietnam War Veterans for their sacrifice and bravery. The memorial is being constructed by staff and students and will stand near the College's entrance.
"We are honored to build this memorial on our campus," said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. "The fallen and their families, along with the Vietnam Veterans, deserve a proper thank you. We hope family members and those in communities across the state will join us for this sacred occasion."
The speaker for the ceremony is former U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. A decorated Vietnam War Veteran, North serves as host of the FOX News Channel documentary series "War Stories with Oliver North." He is not only a combat-decorated Marine, but he is a #1 best-selling author, inventor, business owner and syndicated columnist. North has previously served as a convocation speaker at the College of the Ozarks.
The ceremony will begin with The Call of Remembrance, the music of a single bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace." Walls containing the names of the fallen will be unveiled and wreaths placed on them by dignitaries. A 21-gun salute will further honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Alumnus and Vietnam Veteran General Terrence R. Dake will address those gathered.
"Kindergarteners from the S. Truett Cathy Lower School will place roses in front of the statue of Vietnam Veterans to commemorate the living," said Dean of Character Education Sue Head. "We want our younger students to understand the service and sacrifice of those who went to Vietnam."
Additional special observances, musical numbers from the College's choir, and opportunities for prayer and reflection are planned as part of the service.
At the end of the ceremony, family members of the fallen, and others wishing to show their respect, will place single roses at the base of the walls. The roses will be provided for those in attendance.
A reception for all those in attendance will be held immediately upon completion of the dedication ceremony at The Keeter Center on the College of the Ozarks campus.
Honoring the fallen
Names of the fallen Missouri servicemen and women are provided via the following link to the U.S. Military Fatal Casualties of the Vietnam War, available through the National Archives and prepared by the Secretary of Defense: http://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-lists/mo-alpha.pdf
Families of the fallen are urged to call the College at (417) 690-2212 to share their information. They will be recognized with special observances during the ceremony.
These names will be carved into slabs of granite, immortalized on a divided wall which is the focal point of the memorial. The division of the wall represents the divide that separated the country during this conflict.
In between the two walls will stand a statue of Vietnam Veterans, representing those who served in Vietnam and returned home to live the rest of their lives with memories of war. A flower bed in the shape of the letter "V" for valor will display red flowers, representing the blood shed by servicemen and women.
The memorial was designed by Austin Meyer, a 2014 College of the Ozarks graduate.
More about Oliver North
Former U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was born in San Antonio, Texas, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and served 22 years as a Marine officer. During the Vietnam War, he led a counter-insurgency Marines platoon. His awards for service in combat include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor, and two Purple Hearts for wounds in combat.
Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan Administration, North was involved in planning the rescue of 804 medical students on the island of Grenada and played a major role in the capture of the hijackers of the cruise ship Achille Lauro. After helping plan the U.S. raid on Muammar Qaddafi's terror bases in Libya, North was targeted for
assassination by Abu Nidal, the infamous terrorist killed in Baghdad in August, 2002.
President Ronald Reagan described North as "an American hero."
Since 2001, he has been the host of "War Stories" - the award-winning military documentary series on Fox News Channel - and has been embedded with more than 55 U.S. and allied combat units. North has authored thirteen books, all of them New York Times best sellers. His latest, Heroes Proved, is a gripping tale of intrigue and duplicity at the highest levels of the U.S. Government.
In addition to his work on FOX News Channel, North also serves as the honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, the conservative public policy organization he founded in 1990. Freedom Alliance provides tuition assistance to dependents of troops killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Freedom Alliance also provides support to members of the armed forces who have been wounded in the line of duty, those currently serving on the front lines, and their families.
For more information, call the public relations department at (417) 690-2212 or visit www.cofo.edu