St. Louis memorial to add hundreds of names to wall honoring locals who died in service

By ERIN HEFFERNAN | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Published: May 28, 2019

ST. LOUIS (Tribune News Service) — Five hundred and fifty-four names were read aloud during the first Memorial Day celebration at the renovated Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis.

Among the names were Vincent Winston Jr., an Army private from St. Louis who was killed at age 22 by a land mine explosion in Afghanistan in 2008. And Amanda Pinson, from St. Louis County, who was 21 when she was killed during a mortar attack in Iraq in 2006. Then there’s Jackson D. Johnson who was killed March 5 this year in a vehicle accident in Kuwait.

The names will be added to the memorial’s court of honor, a wall etched with the names of St. Louisans who have died during military service.

The wall was first unveiled on Memorial Day in 1948 to commemorate those killed during WWII. Over the years, it has been updated to include the names of 158 St. Louisans who died during the Korean War and 215 local military members who died during Vietnam. No names have been added since 1979.

The additions follow a two-year, $30 million renovation that touched nearly every part of the museum before it reopened in November.

The museum launched in 1938 as a World War I memorial. A black granite monument in the shape of a tomb in the center of the building holds the names of 1,075 St. Louisans who died during WWI.

The names on both that memorial and the court of honor include neither rank nor the cause of death, by design.

“It reminds us that no matter if you were a private or a general,” Sundlov said. “All people shared the promise to serve and protect our nation.”

Anyone who died while on active duty or activated reserve or National Guard and who lived in the St. Louis metro area can be listed on the memorial. Cause and location of death are not considered.

Lisa Hofmann, of St. Louis, attended the event Monday to honor her son, Justin Wayne Hofmann, a Marine who died by suicide in 2015.

Hofmann planned to go to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery later that morning where she would bring her son’s favorite meal, Imo’s Pizza, to his grave.

Justin Hofmann’s name, along with 553 others, will be etched into the memorial and unveiled on Veterans Day.

The list of names and information about how to submit a name to the list can be found online at https://mohistory.org/memorial/the-court-of-honor-and-cenotaph.

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