Missouri’s National Veteran Memorial hosted a special guest Friday, when U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt scheduled a short stop at the Perryville landmark.
“In our state, I don’t think anybody has made a greater community effort in this generation or a greater individual effort in the last 25 years or so than what we see right here,” Blunt said before touring the site.
It was Blunt’s first visit to the site, which features a full-sized exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
“The opportunity for people who would find a lot harder time getting to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington get a chance to see it here,” Blunt said. “After World War I, the World War I memorial — not a government project just like this wasn’t a government project — was put in the middle of the country at Kansas City, Mo., just like this is in the middle of the country for people to get to more easily than they could get a lot of other places.”
The Missouri Republican, who was on hand in Washington in 2017 when the American and POW flags that flew over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial were presented to MNVM board members and escorted back to Perryville by what MNVM board chairman Don Fulford described as “8 1/2 miles of bikers” as part of the Wall2Wall Ride.
“It was a really special day,” Fulford said. “On that same day we were getting ready to do our thing, and Sen. Roy Blunt stepped out of his SUV and came over and was a part of that special day,” said Fulford, who intrduced Blunt. “In fact if you go to his website today, on the front page is Roy Blunt shaking hands with one of our Legion Riders.”
“He’s a guy that cares about Missourians he’s a guy that cares about us, and he’s a guy who cares about our veterans.”
During his address, Blunt discussed his efforts in Congress to honor veterans in Missouri and across the nation. Blunt mentioned legislation designed to expand veterans’ access to health care.
“The new veterans mission act that we passed last year really tries to make a true reality out of veterans having more choices,” Blunt said, “trying to make the current veteran facilities work better, but also make it much more likely that a veteran who feels like they can get a better level of care at a different place or closer to home gets a chance to do that.”
Blunt also discussed a recent letter that he and the entire Missouri Congressional delegation sent to President Trump urging the administration to designate a state funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipient from World War II.
“There are still four of those Medal of Honor members alive,” Blunt said. “There’d be no reason not to honor all four of them, but [we’re] encouraging the president to move forward, commit himself and our country to recognizing all the Medal of Honor winners from World War II as we recognize the last one whenever the last one passes and we’re obviously getting close to that.”
Blunt’s visit came during a tour of several cities in southeast Missouri, and included a tour of Crader Distributing in Marble Hill, a roundtable discussion with the Madison County Opioid Task Force in Fredericktown, and attending the signing of a Strategic Alliance Memorandum between the Small Business Administration and the Farmington Chamber of Commerce. This will be the first rural Strategic Alliance in Missouri.