For those of you who do not know our Chairman of the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Committee Ralph Barrale, we want to share this recent message, in his own words…
With all due respect I am 94 years old, I do not talk fast like I use to, or walk fast like I did, please give me a little more time. Thank you.
I am here today to talk about the “Missouri Veterans Protection Act”. But first I want to introduce myself.
I am Ralph Barrale Sr. I live in Lake Saint Louis, been married to the same beautiful lady for 71 years, going on 72 in June. Have 3 grown children, one girl, 2 boys. I have been retired since May,1980.
I was drafted in World War 2 into the U.S. Army in May 1943 as a “Combat Military Policeman”. I stand before you an old Soldier, who at the age of 20, found himself on the beach in Normandy, France. Landing on Utah Beach in 1944 in World War 2, asking myself this question. “MY GOD WHAT AM I DOING HERE?? WHY AM I HERE??
I am sure there are Veterans here, at one time or another have asked this same question.
Yes! we were told that we were on a great “Crusade to free and Liberate the Continent of Europe”. Freedom, Liberty. What did an 18, 19, 20 year old know what those words really mean?? We have always taken them for granted.
We joined General Patton’s 3rd Army. Fighting through France, going into the towns and cities, the people rushing out to greet us, the people smiling and happy to see American Soldiers. Knowing they were liberated, they were free at last after 4 years of German rule. When they first saw American Soldiers, they did not see Italian American, Irish American, German American, French American, Polish American, or African American.
They saw Americans.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that is who we are, we are all Americans.
I love this Country, I thank my Mom, my Dad and GOD every day for letting me be born in the United States. It breaks my heart every time I see an American DESECRATING our Flag. Don’t they know that THOUSANDS of Americans have died for that Flag and what it stands for?? We fought in the “Battle of the Bulge” coldest winter in over 100 years. This was the largest and Bloodiest battle the American Army fought in World War 2. The battle started on Dec.16, 1944 it ended January 25, 1945.
My outfit participated in the capture of the “Ludendorff Bridge”(March 8th,1945) at Remagen, Germany with the 9th Armor Div. We were one of the first units to arrive at “Dachau”, a concentration camp outside of Munich, Germany.
No one prepared us for what we were going to see there.
The victims, people in skin and bones, the ovens were people were cremated, people stacked up like cords of wood ready to be cremated, the atrocities committed there. Then I knew, we all knew, and the whole world knew why we were there. This was not going to happen in our Country.
My outfit saw action in 3rd Army, 1st Army, 9th Army, 12 Corps, 15 Corps, 3 Corps. My Company received Commendations from the following Generals:
General George S. Patton, Commander 3rd Army.
General Courtney H. Hodges Commander 1st Army.
Major General J.A. Van Fleet Commander 3rd Corps.
Major General Raymond B. Lark, CMP Provost Marshal.
Ladies and Gentlemen I am Ralph Barrale Sr. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for this opportunity to be here and to speak to all of you today. I am honored to be here today. Thank you.
I am here today to ask you to help us Veterans and future Veterans keep the recognition we have in the state of Missouri. Everything we have in St. Charles County is there for a reason and it has a meaning. When my family moved from St. Louis County in 1974 to St. Charles County, there was only one city in St. Charles County that honored our Veterans and that was the City of Wentzville with the first Vietnam Memorial in the Country, in all of the United States.
No other city in St Charles County recognized or honored our Veterans, hard to believe isn’t it.
I was instrument in getting recognition for our Veterans by going to every City Council along Highway 70 and getting the South Service Road name changed to” Veteran Memorial Parkway”. the road starts at 5th street in the City of St. Charles, and runs thru the City of Warrenton in Warren County a total of 50 miles. This road is named after all the American men and Women that never came back home, 6 of those were my buddies that we bummed around with before the war. I was the only one of the 7 that came back home.
I think of that often, why was I spared???
We, the living, it is up to us to make sure, that we honor and remember the sacrifice they all made. What sacrifice did they make?? Most of them were young men and women when they died, I am 94 years old I know what they gave up because I have lived it. They gave up 2
lives….One they were living and the one they would have lived. When they died they gave up their chance to be husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, grandparents, and yes, great grandparents. They gave up their chance to be revered, old people.
What a sacrifice!!.
They gave up everything for their Country and us. We must always remember them.
That is why I am here and you are all are there, our Missouri Representatives, to get this “Missouri Veterans heritage Protection Act” pass. I understand there are 2 Bills “HB1427 and HB2189 introduced by Representatives Warren Love and Bryan Spencer, respectively.
Today, starting with St. Charles City, St. Peters, O’Fallon, Lake Saint Louis, Wentzville, we have Veterans Memorial Parks and Monuments and a Bridge over the Missouri River honoring our Veterans. Memorial Day and Veterans Day Ceremonies draw huge crowds. today I would say St. Charles County is a very big Veteran friendly County.
One thing I want to mention, a few years ago the Mayor for St. Peters called me and wanted to talk to me about the car dealers in St. Peters on Veterans memorial Parkway, they wanted to change their section of the road to ” Automotive Way”. My answer to him was “Mr. Mayor if you give in to them you will be committing “POLITICAL SUICIDE”.
Today, he is still the Mayor of St. Peters.
I mention this because as you all know, there are forces in our Country that want to destroy our form of government and our history. They are attacking us every chance they get, like knocking down statues and monuments. Changing the name of the Arch in St. Louis, Mo. From “Jefferson National Expansion Monument”, to the “Gateway Arch of St. Louis.” This was a Memorial to Thomas Jefferson our 3rd President, and the man responsible for the “Louisiana Purchase” the land we bought from France. What next??? Closing down the Washington Monument?? Destroying Mt. Rushmore?? Passing this “Missouri Veterans Heritage Protection Act” is a big start in preserving our history. You never know, the other states may follow Missouri’s lead.
In closing, I want to leave you with this thought, “NO ONE IS EVER GONE,AS LONG AS SOMEONE STILL HAS MEMORIES OF THEM”
-Ralph Barrale, Sr.
Lake St. Louis, MO
Please take a moment and consider sharing with the new St. Charles County Veterans Museum! Contact us below!