Honoring the Legacy: The Old Guard Statue Ceremony at Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial

On June 9, 2024, a momentous event took place at Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial (MNVM) in Perryville, Missouri. Veterans, active-duty service members, families, and patriots gathered to witness the unveiling of The Old Guard Statue, a tribute to the United States Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, famously known as The Old Guard. This historic ceremony was a heartfelt acknowledgment of the regiment’s enduring dedication and service to the nation.

The Significance of The Old Guard

The Old Guard, established in 1784, is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the U.S. Army, renowned for its ceremonial duties and unwavering commitment to honoring fallen soldiers. The regiment is responsible for various ceremonial activities, including military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and escorting the President. Their role extends beyond ceremonial duties, as they also provide security in the nation’s capital.

A Monument to Honor

The Old Guard Statue, now standing proudly at MNVM, is a powerful symbol of the regiment’s legacy. This impressive statue captures the essence of The Old Guard’s mission: to honor, to remember, and to serve. The monument was created by renowned sculptor Barbara Mungenast, who brought this vision to life with striking realism and emotional depth.

Unveiling Ceremony Highlights

The unveiling ceremony was a poignant event that brought together various elements of military tradition and public gratitude. Chris Wibbenmeyer, Administrator of Mercy Hospital Perry, provided the invocation. Keynote speakers included Barbara  Mungenast, Artist and Sculptor, who spoke passionately about the sacrifices and dedication of The Old Guard. She emphasized the importance of remembering and honoring the service members who have dedicated their lives to the country.

MNVM Board President, Clay Hahs, also addressed the crowd, highlighting the significance of MNVM as a place of reflection and tribute to all veterans. “This statue,” he remarked, “is not just a monument but a testament to the enduring spirit of our military heroes.”

A moving performance by a local brass quintet set a solemn yet uplifting tone for the ceremony. Members included Jerry Childers, Wayne White, David Barani, Jacob Bagot, and Jerry Lintner.

Current and former MNVM Board Members were in attendance: Clay Hahs, Paul Guard, Roger Wibbenmeyer, Greg Laurentius, David Crader, Jim Eddleman, Don Fulford, Frank Robinson, and Kevin Robinson. Additionally, US Army Veterans who served in The Old Guard were present including Specialist 4th Class Paul R. Evans, Specialist 4th Class James D. Nanneman, Specialist 4th Class Michael Holub, Sergeant Larry L. Jewell, and Sergeant Tim Robinson.

The Old Guard Ceremony was made possible through the incredible generosity of our supporters. We extend our deepest gratitude to the following Major Donors whose contributions were invaluable in bringing this tribute to fruition: Gettin’ Sauced BBQ, Richardet Floor Covering, David & Gale Crader, and the David & Barbara Mungenast Foundation.

Community and Legacy

The unveiling of The Old Guard Statue was not only a celebration of military tradition but also a community event. Families of service members, veterans’ organizations, and local residents all participated, making it a shared experience of respect and remembrance. MNVM, already a significant site for honoring veterans, now has an additional focal point that deepens its historical and emotional impact.

A Lasting Tribute

The Old Guard Statue serves as a lasting tribute to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve in The Old Guard. It stands as a reminder of their unwavering commitment to duty, honor, and country. Visitors to MNVM can now reflect on the storied history of The Old Guard and gain a deeper appreciation for their sacrifices.

As we honor the legacy of The Old Guard, let us also remember all those who have served and those who continue to serve. Their sacrifices and dedication ensure the freedoms and values we hold dear. The The Old Guard Statue is a powerful reminder of our nation’s enduring respect and gratitude for its Military Heroes.