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Here’s how you can visit an exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Missouri

“It’s nice and tranquil. Quiet. Peaceful. Very sacred. Awestruck is too minor of a word. It doesn’t really describe the feeling.”

PERRYVILLE, Mo. — Nov. 11 is Veterans Day in America. It’s a day commemorating all the service men and women in the U.S. military living and dead.

It is their commitment to duty that preserves our freedoms. But it has, at times, come at a high price.

In Perryville, Missouri, there is a site dedicated to the Americans who lost their lives in Vietnam. The Missouri National Veterans Memorial has an exact replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It is the same as the one in Washington D.C.

The wall stands in the middle of 46 acres and spans nearly 500 feet from end to end. It starts off a few inches off the ground before climbing to just over 10-feet at its highest point.

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There are more than 58,000 names etched into the black granite slabs. One of the names is a friend of local veteran Bill Tlapek.

“Richard E. Sands. We were shot down and Richard was killed,” he said. “Just a nice guy, probably a little braver than me.”

Tlapek was called off to war in the late 1960s.

“Was going to summer school at Southeast Missouri State University my junior year, got a notice of being drafted,” he told 5 On Your Side.

Tlapek did one tour of duty in Vietnam.

“Three-hundred-sixty-six days. It was a leap year,” he explained.

Tlaplek was a sergeant in the U.S. Army and served in the infantry.

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He currently volunteers at Missouri's National Veterans Memorial and finds it difficult at times to visit the wall.

“Sometimes leave here crying,” he said.

He mourns for the people who lost someone now memorialized on the wall.

“Some of these guys were family men with wives and children,” he said.

There are the names of 40 sets of brothers and three sets of fathers and sons on the wall.

While coming to the wall isn’t always easy, Tlapek does find a level of calmness there.

“It’s nice and tranquil. Quiet. Peaceful, very sacred,” he said. “Awestruck is too minor of a word. It doesn’t really describe the feeling.”

Tlapek encourages people to visit the site and believes emotions someone could feel there could be educational.

He also believes the wall can give someone a better understanding of the phrase “freedom isn’t free.”

“Hope people truly understand that it is not free, and it never will be free,” he said.

The public has access to the wall 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The museum does have limited hours, though. If you would like to learn more, click here.

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