Patriotism is a foundation of the College of the Ozarks. On Thursday, the school dedicated a permanent memorial to Missourians who fought and died in Vietnam.
A crowd of thousands watched the unveiling of the Missouri Vietnam War Veterans Memorial. It contains the names of more than 1,400 Missourians who gave their lives in defense of freedom in the Vietnam War.
Each person who attended the ceremony was invited to lay a rose on the memorial. The ceremony also included speeches by college president Jerry Davis, Bass Pro Shops owner Johnny Morris, Lt. Col. Oliver North and some College of the Ozarks graduates who served in Vietnam, including Gen. Terrance Dake.
Dake calls it an honor to have this memorial at his alma mater.
“It will stand as a beacon, a signal that we here in the Ozarks honor service to country. We remember the sacrifices made by veterans and their families and we’ve paid our dues,” said Dake.
“They went against an enemy who was brutal, relentless and ultimately prevailed not because the battles were lost on the fields of Vietnam — they were all won. The war was lost in the corridors of power in Washington; that too need never happen again,” said North.
A red “V” is in the center of the memorial. The red is for the blood that was spilled in the sacrifice for freedom. The “V” is for the valor that so many earned but did not receive.